FIFA are investigating how celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ got access to the pitch following the 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France last weekend.
The restaurant owner, known for his bizarre salt sprinkling technique and wildly expensive food – even including steak with gold leaf, was seen on the pitch with Argentina players following their victory.
Real name Nusret Gokce, he posed with the newly crowned World Cup champions and has been heavily criticised for his actions in recent days.
Some videos published to social media appear to show a number of the Argentina players looking uncomfortable at his presence. In one exchange, Gokce appeared to be trying to converse with Lionel Messi, who seemed to want to move away from him.
Gokce was also seen holding and kissing the World Cup trophies, even taking it out of the hands of some Argentina players in video clips posted online.
FIFA rules actually state that only World Cup winners and heads of state are allowed to touch the World Cup trophy during closing ceremony celebrations.
The world governing body has also confirmed to Sky Sports News that ‘Salt Bae’, although wearing some kind of ID on a lanyard around his neck, was not authorised to be on the pitch.
A statement issued by FIFA read, “Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail stadium on 18 December. The appropriate internal action will be taken.”
An historic video has since surfaced showing FIFA president Gianni Infantino getting the ‘Salt Bae’ treatment at one of his restaurants. But there is thought to be no commercial or official relationship that would have allowed Gokce to be in the areas that he was after Sunday’s final.
Infantino is even now thought to have unfollowed ‘Salt Bae’ on Instagram.