World Cup 2022: American journalist Grant Wahl dies in Qatar at Netherlands vs. Argentina match

American journalist Grant Wahl has died in Qatar while covering the World Cup, US Soccer said in a statement.

Wahl’s wife, Celine Grounder, released the US Soccer Statement on Twitter and wrote, “I am so grateful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and so many friends who reached out tonight. I’m in total shock. “

Wahl collapsed and died at the Lusail Iconic Stadium during overtime during the Netherlands vs Argentina game.

US Soccer released a statement, which read in part, “The entire US soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl.”

This is breaking news and will be updated. Previous story below.

Some people attending the 2022 World Cup games said they encountered difficulties in Qatar when trying to enter stadiums wearing clothing in support of LGBTQ rights.

At the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, US football journalist Grant Wahl and former Wales captain Laura McAllister said Monday ahead of the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) game against Wales they were both told to remove rainbow-colored clothing by security personnel.

Wahl said he was arrested for the “rainbow football t-shirt” he was wearing and was briefly denied entry to the game. He tweeted that security told him, “You need to change your shirt. It is not allowed.”

The journalist wrote on his website that while he was tweeting about the incident on his cellphone, “a guard forcibly snatched my cellphone from my hands.”

“A security guard told me my shirt was ‘political’ and not allowed,” Wahl wrote. “Another kept refusing to give me my phone back. Another security guard yelled at me as he stood over me – I was now sitting on a chair – to take off my shirt.”

Wahl said he was released 25 minutes after his arrest and had received apologies from a FIFA official and a senior member of the stadium’s security team.

Wahl told CNN on Tuesday that he had previously been assured he would be allowed to wear rainbow-embellished clothing and that he will “probably” wear the shirt again as he is “not afraid of any of that here.”

When asked if he should stand up for the LGBTQ community, Wahl said: “It’s really important to me and with the best will in the world it’s not necessary.

“I have gay family members. i have gay friends I have gay journalist friends who are here in Qatar. But you don’t need that to support, to be an ally.

“Well, I was thinking about all these people yesterday. I thought of Colorado Springs. I’ve thought of all sorts of things. And when I have to be locked up for 30 minutes, it’s kind of annoying. But it’s not a problem for me. And I was happy to be able to help at least a little.”

McAllister – who captained the Wales women’s national football team in the 1990s – said she was stopped by security officers and her rainbow-colored hat confiscated before she was allowed into Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

“Despite kind words from @FIFAWorldCup ahead of the event, @Cymru (Wales) rainbow bucket hats were confiscated at the stadium including mine,” McAllister tweeted about the incident.

“I spoke to stewards about this – we have video evidence. This #WorldCup2022 just keeps getting better but we will continue to stand up for our values,” added McAllister.

Video posted online by British media outlet ITV appears to show McAllister being stopped at a security checkpoint and a person in police uniform pointing to her hat.

“They insisted we couldn’t go into the stadium unless I took my hat off,” McAllister told ITV.

McAllister, who played 24 times for Wales, told ITV security officials said the rainbow hat was a “prohibited symbol”.

“I think we received a lot of warnings that this wasn’t going to be a tournament where human rights, LGBT rights and women’s rights would be well respected, but coming from a nation like Wales we were keen that we still had a place related to coming here,” McAllister told ITV.

The hat in question is sold by The Rainbow Wall, a self-proclaimed LGBTQ+ support group for the Welsh national teams.

Shortly after it was revealed that the captains of several European nations would not be wearing ‘OneLove’ armbands at the World Cup in Qatar due to the risk of receiving yellow cards, former England international Alex Scott wore a rainbow armband earlier Monday when she formed part of the BBC’s coverage of England’s game against Iran.

England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales should join the OneLove campaign to promote inclusion and fight discrimination.

However, the associations of those countries said in a statement on Monday that the armband – which features a striped heart of different colors to represent all heritages, backgrounds, genders and sexual identities – would not be worn in Qatar.

It was announced on Tuesday that the supermarket chain Rewe had ended its cooperation with the German Football Association DFB because of the allegedly “scandalous” ban on the “OneLove” armband by FIFA.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also criticized the World Federation of Sports for its stance on the armbands.

“From my point of view, it is always worrying when we see restrictions on freedom of expression. This is especially the case when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” said Blinken.

“And in my opinion, at least, nobody on the football field should be forced to choose between supporting those values ​​and playing for their team,” Blinken told reporters in Doha on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Belgian FA announced that it had to remove the word ‘Love’ from its gear due to a commercial conflict that took place prior to the decision not to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband.

CNN has reached out to FIFA and World Cup organizers for comment and clarification on the official dress code for the World Cup.

According to the FIFA Handbook, “Expats and tourists are free to wear whatever clothing they choose, as long as it is modest and respectful of the culture.”

Ahead of the World Cup, Qatar – where sex between men is illegal and carries a national penalty of up to three years in prison – has come under criticism for its stance on LGBTQ rights.

A Human Rights Watch report released last month documented instances as recently as September of Qatari security forces arbitrarily arresting LGBT people and “abusing them in custody.”

However, the country has insisted that “everyone is welcome” at the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our track record has shown that we have given all people a warm welcome, regardless of their background”.

The CNN Wire

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