By Michael Lewis
Three journalists reporting about the World Cup in Qatar have now died.
Al Kass TV photojournalist Khalid al-Misslam “died suddenly,” The Gulf Times reported on Saturday.
Not widely reported worldwide at the time, ITV sports technical director Roger Pearce had passed away at the start of the quadrennial competition in November.
American sportswriter Grant Wahl died while covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match on Friday.
“We believe in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for him, and send our deepest condolences to his family,” The Gulf Times said of al-Misslam’s passing.
Details on al-Misslam’s death were not immediately known.
Wahl collapsed during the quarterfinal match, in which Argentina eliminated the Netherlands on penalty kicks. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in an ambulance, where he was pronounced dead from what reportedly a heart attack.
The U.S. State Department is “engaging” with Qatari officials over Wahl’s passing, Politico reported. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday that the department was working “to ensure his family gets the support they need.”
According to numerous media reports, the U.S. government is making arrangements with Qatari officials to bring Wahl’s body back home.
On Nov. 21, Pearce passed died. He was in charge of the network’s World Cup coverage.
Pearce had been with ITV for 43 years and was five weeks away from retirement, according to reports. He covered World Cups, UEFA Europe Championships and the Rugby World Cup.
He was 65.
“ITV’s technical director Roger Pearce, who was here embarking on his eighth World Cup, has sadly passed away< TV Sports presenter Mark Pougatch on Nov. 21. “Roger and his team are the brilliant people who bring the pictures into your homes and make it all happen.”
“Roger was a hugely respected figure in the TV sports broadcasting industry.”
Those three deaths were not the first time media members have died at the World Cup.
At the 2010 competition in South Africa, Bob Millward, chief soccer writer for the Associated Press died of natural causes days before the final. He was 58.
A widely respected British sports journalist who had worked for AP for more than 20 years, Millward died after collapsing in his Johannesburg hotel room.
Millward was covering his seventh World Cup. He also attended and wrote about several Olympic Games and was expert on soccer, cricket, golf, rugby, boxing and horse racing.