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A second journalist dies while covering the World Cup in Qatar

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Robert Cianflone/Getty

A journalist covering the FIFA World Cup “died suddenly”, a Qatari newspaper reported – on the same day a security guard was left in intensive care after falling in one of the tournament stadiums.

Based in Doha Gulf Hours announced on Saturday that Al Kass TV photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam “has passed away recently”. The Qatari journalist “died suddenly while covering the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022”, Gulf Hours tweeted. “We believe in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for him, and send our deepest condolences to his family.”

How and when al-Misslam died is unclear. But news of his death came the same day a security guard was seriously injured after falling at Lusail Stadium. An observer tells The Guardian that the man fell from a “significant height” around 2am on Saturday after Argentina’s quarter-final win over the Netherlands. The security guard, believed to be a migrant worker, allegedly dived from the top of the exterior hall to the ground. Reports on Sunday suggested he was in stable but critical condition.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee issued a statement describing the incident as a “serious fall in service”. “The stadium medical teams immediately attended the scene and provided emergency care before he was transferred to the Hamad Medical Hospital care unit by ambulance,” the statement said, adding that the Qatari authorities are “urgently investigating the circumstances leading to the fall”.

News of al-Misslam’s death and the downing of the security guard came a day after the death of US journalist Grant Wahl. Wahl, 48, was covering the Argentina v Netherlands match on Friday when he allegedly collapsed in his seat at the Lusail stadium. Witnesses said Wahl was quickly treated by paramedics before being rushed to hospital. The World Cup organizing committee did not reveal the cause of his death but said it was in contact with the US embassy.

Witness recounts frantic attempt to save sportswriter Grant Wahl after shock World Cup collapse

In the weeks leading up to his death, Wahl made international headlines after he tweeted that he had been refused entry to the match between the United States and Wales on November 21 because he wore a rainbow t-shirt to support the LGBTQ community. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and signs supporting gay rights were treated with contempt by authorities during the World Cup. Wahl said a security guard ordered him to change his shirt when he tried to enter the stadium.

On December 6, Wahl wrote on his Substack that he was not feeling well and had attended a medical clinic. “My body finally collapsed on top of me,” he wrote. “Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can do this to you. What had been a cold for the past 10 days turned into something more serious on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest taking on a new level of pressure and of discomfort.

He added that he did not have COVID and that doctors told him he “probably” had bronchitis, an inflammation of the airways in the lungs. “They gave me a course of antibiotics and heavy duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a little better a few hours later. But still: No bueno,” Wahl wrote.

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