The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is proving to be a deadly one to cover for journalists, as Gulf Times, a Doha-based newspaper, tweeted Saturday that an Al Kass TV photojournalist, Al-Misslam had died “suddenly” while covering the event.
“Al Kass TV photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam passed away recently. Al- Misslam, a Qatari, died suddenly while covering the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the Times wrote on Twitter. “We believe in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for him, and send our deepest condolences to his family.”
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
The death comes days after Grant Wahl, a 48-year-old U.S. journalist, died after allegedly collapsing just before the Netherland-Argentina match concluded. Wahl wrote for Sports Illustrated before starting his own sub stack, but routinely appeared on CNN, Fox Sports, and CBS Sports as a commentator.
The exact cause of his death has not been released, but his body and possessions were repatriated to the United States on Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinkin tweeted, “I so appreciated Grant Wahl, whose writing captured not only the essence of the beautiful game but also the world around it.”
I so appreciated Grant Wahl, whose writing captured not only the essence of the beautiful game but also the world around it. I send my deepest condolences to his family, and thank our Embassy team and Qatari partners who worked together so effectively to fulfill their wishes.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 12, 2022
Wahl’s death came just weeks after he was detained for wearing a rainbow shirt in Qatar. He alleged that a security guard had told him that he had to change his shirt, as it was “not allowed.”
Shortly after his death, his brother Eric Wahl tearfully posted on Instagram that he was “the reason that he [Grant] wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup” and that his brother was “healthy” and “received death threats.” Eric then ended the clip by claiming he did not believe his brother :just died,” but that he was “killed.”
Eric Wahl, the brother of sportswriter Grant Wahl who died in Qatar while covering the World Cup, is asking for help.
Grant was detained in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt two weeks ago pic.twitter.com/lak0b1UZwa
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 10, 2022
Wahl was rather outspoken on the issue, tweeting about several different occasions in which FIFA has violated its promises to protect LGBTQ+ fans and allow rainbow colors at the World Cup.
One fan, Natalie Pirks, alleged that her cameraman, wearing a rainbow-colored watch strap, was stopped by security and refused entry to Al Bayt stadium. Another fan, an England supporter and a member of the country’s official travel club, says he was strip searched, and then detained because he was wearing rainbow colors.
The events has brought renewed focus on the issue of ethics surrounding the World Cup in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by law. Similar criticisms were also leveled at Russian when it hosted the 2018 World Cup which, like Qatar won the game in a 2010 bid. Controversy continues to surround both bids. The man who headed the committee that voted on the bids, indicted con man Sepp Blatter, has since said that picking Qatar was a mistake.
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