We had previously written on December 9 of the unexpected death of Grant Wahl, a sports journalist in Qatar who was covering the World Cup. He fell unconscious during the quarterfinal match that was played between Netherlands as well as Argentina. Wahl had just turned 48.
Wahl has had previous issues with security guards at the Stadium in Qatar due to wearing a rainbow shirt on November 21. He was initially denied access and was detained for up to an hour before being admitted into the stadium. There was a fight according to Wahl who reported about the incident at that time, stating that a guard pulled his phone violently from his palm. He later said that they apologized and claimed that they were trying to shield him from his fellow supporters.
Wahl was also in the wrong camp when he wrote a piece critiquing the Qatari regime's treatment of foreigners, and a man who was killed during an accident at an Saudi military camp. The piece was published on December 8.
The brother of Wahl posted an image on Instagram declaring that he believed that his brother had been murdered. The post was later taken down.
The second journalist's death was announced on the 10th of December, 10 within hours of that of Wahl.
Khalid al-Misslam, a Qatari, was a photographer who worked for Al Kass TV, a sports-related channel. The journalist also “died suddenly” while covering the World Cup, according to the Gulf-Times.
“Al Kass TV photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam passed away recently,” the Gulf-Times announced. “Al-Misslam is a Qatari who passed away unexpectedly when he was reporting for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We trust that Allah's forgiveness and mercy will be his forefather and we send our heartfelt sympathy to his family.” The circumstances surrounding his death, including the cause of death, is not clear.
That wasn't all. On the same night after the Netherlands-Argentina game, a security guard was also critically injured falling from what an observer called a “significant height” from Lusail Stadium.
The specific circumstances that led to the fall aren't clear; however one person informed The Guardian it was because the guard had fallen from the concourse's top onto the ground below near gate 30 in the stadium.
The victim, likely to be a migrant, was transported to Hamad hospital, where he's reported to be in stable but critical condition.
Wahl wrote in his Substack before his death that he'd been to the clinic and they believed that he was suffering from bronchitis.
He was reporting for the eighth time at the World Cup and wrote last Monday, he visited a health clinic in Qatar. He was not tested for COVID-19 and sought treatment to treat his symptoms.
“My body finally gave up on me. Three weeks of sleepless nights along with high stress and a lot of work can cause this to anyone,” Wahl wrote in his Substack. “What was initially a cold in the past 10 days grew more severe during the evening of the USA-Netherlands match, and I could feel my chest's upper part take an entirely higher level of tension and discomfort.”
“I visited the medical clinic of Media Center One on Tuesday and they told me that I might have bronchitis. They prescribed me a course of antibiotics as well as a heavy-duty cough syrup. I'm already feeling better a couple of hours after. But still: No bueno.”
Wahl suggested that other journalists were also suffering from illness “So many journalists have an insane cough. It's almost like a death rumble at times,” Wahl said in an interview.
The brother of Wahl said that they were working to find out more information, and he took the body of his brother to the United States.