A second journalist has died while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The Gulf Times reports Qatari photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam passed away “suddenly” on the weekend.
The Qatar news outlet wrote: “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.”
Al-Misslam worked for the Qatari news channel Al Kass TV and had been covering the World Cup. The circumstances around his death are unclear, with the TV channel only briefly mentioning his passing on their live broadcast.
His death comes days after influential American soccer journalist Grant Wahl died in Qatar while covering the World Cup. He was 48.
While covering Argentina’s quarter-final win over the Netherlands, Wahl, who had run his own sporting news subscription service after working for Sports Illustrated, collapsed at Lusail Iconic Stadium and was rushed to a nearby hospital before his death.
It’s unclear whether he died at the hospital or in transport.
His brother, Eric, believes foul play from the Qatari government may have been involved.
Prior to the American team’s game against Wales, Wahl was initially not allowed into Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and detained for 30 minutes for wearing a shirt depicting a soccer ball surrounded by a rainbow. He was eventually let into the stadium.
The Qatari government cracked down on pro-LGBTQ demonstrations at the tournament despite their original promises not to.
In addition to his rainbow-themed shirt, Wahl has been an outspoken critic of the Qatari government and its hosting of the World Cup.
He wrote on Friday: “They just don’t care. Qatari World Cup organisers don’t even hide their apathy over migrant worker deaths, including the most recent one,” in an article on his Substack.
It has emerged that Wahl featured on a podcast the day before his death and eluded to feeling sick.
Wahl earlier this week revealed he was struggling with a throat issue and a lack of sleep — and had been to a medical centre at the media centre in Qatar twice.
“My body I think told me, even after the U.S. went out, ‘dude, you are not sleeping enough.’ It rebelled on me,” Wahl said on his podcast.
“So I’ve had a case of bronchitis this week, I’ve been to the medical clinic at the media centre twice now, including today. I’m feeling better today I basically cancelled everything on this Thursday that I had and napped. And I’m doing slightly better. I think you can probably tell in my voice that I’m not 100 per cent.”
Wahl was live-tweeting his analysis of the Argentina-Netherlands blockbuster just minutes before his collapse.
His wife also posted a tweet following the news.
“I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl’s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight.
“I’m in complete shock.”
His brother Eric says Grant was killed.
“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account.
“I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help.
“We’re still trying to find out. He collapsed at the stadium, was given cpr, was taken by Uber to hospital and died according to Celine. We just spoke with the state department and Celine has spoken to Ron Klain and the White House.”
Wahl was married to Céline R. Gounder, an American infectious disease physician who served on the COVID-19 Advisory Board transition team for President Joe Biden.
Wahl attended Princeton University. In addition to his work at Sports Illustrated, he was also a soccer correspondent and analyst for CBS Sports and Fox Sports, and authored the book “The Beckham Experiment.”
U.S. Soccer said in a statement: “The entire U.S. soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl.
“Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists: Teams, players, coaches, and the many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport. Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game.
“As important, Grant’s belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was, and will remain, an inspiration to all. Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.
“U.S. soccer send its sincerest condolences to Grant’s wife, Dr. Celine Grounder, and all of his family members, friends and colleagues in the media. And we thank Grant for his tremendous dedication to and impact on out game in the United States. His writing and the stories he told will live on.”
Wahl was critical of the tournament and the country’s human rights abuses. His final published story criticised the host nation for so brazenly dismissing reports up to 6000 workers died during the tournament’s construction projects.
His death has rocked many at the tournament and around the world.
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