We previously reported on Dec. 9 about the sudden death of Grant Wahl, a sports journalist in Qatar covering the World Cup. He collapsed suddenly during the quarterfinal game between the Netherlands and Argentina. Wahl had just turned 48.
Wahl had previously had trouble with security at the stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt on Nov. 21. He was initially refused entry and detained for 25 minutes before he was allowed into the stadium. At one point, there was a scuffle, according to Wahl, who wrote at the time that one guard ripped his phone forcibly out of his hand. Ultimately, he said they apologized and said that they told him they were just trying to protect him from other fans.
Wahl had also come up on their wrong side by writing a piece criticizing the Qatari regime’s treatment of foreign migrants including a migrant who was killed in an accident at a Saudi training camp. That piece ran on Dec. 8.
Wahl’s brother put out a video on Instagram saying he believed his brother was murdered. He later took it down.
Now there is the second death of a journalist reported on Dec. 10, just hours after the death of Wahl.
Khalid al-Misslam, a Qatari, was a photojournalist for Al Kass TV, a sports broadcasting channel. He also “died suddenly” while covering the World Cup, according to the Gulf-Times.
Al Kass TV photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam passed away recently.
Al- Misslam, a Qatari, died suddenly while covering the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We believe in Allah's mercy and forgiveness for him, and send our deepest condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/M1ZyoBJWkW
— Gulf-Times (@GulfTimes_QATAR) December 10, 2022
“Al Kass TV photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam passed away recently,” the Gulf-Times said. “Al-Misslam, a Qatari, died suddenly while covering the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We believe in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for him, and send our deepest condolences to his family.” The details of his death including what he died from are unclear.
That wasn’t all. On the same night after the Neatherlands-Argentina game, a security guard was also critically injured falling from what an observer called a “significant height” from the Lusail Stadium.
The precise circumstances surrounding the fall are unclear but one fan told the Guardian that the guard had dropped from the top outside concourse on to the ground below close to gate 30 of the stadium.
The person involved, who is believed to be a migrant worker, was rushed to Hamad hospital where he is said to be in a stable but critical condition.
Wahl said in his Substack before he died that he’d gone to a clinic and they believed he had bronchitis.
He was covering his eighth World Cup and wrote last Monday he visited a medical clinic while in Qatar. He tested negative for COVID-19 and sought treatment for his symptoms.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote in his Substack. “What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.
“I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno.”
Wahl implied others were also sick, “So many journalists have got a crazy cough. It sounds like a death rattle sometimes,” Wahl said on a podcast.
Wahl’s brother said they were still working to get more information and he accompanied his brother’s body home to this country.
We’ve been told there are NYC police in Doha working to get more information.
— Eric Wahl (@ziplamak) December 12, 2022