FIFA investigates after backlash over celebrity chef’s World Cup antics


Salt Bae was seen pestering Argentinian players for photos after their title triumph

FIFA has launched an investigation into how Turkish celebrity chef Salt Bae was able to gain access to the pitch to join Argentinian players for their World Cup celebrations in Qatar.

The Turkish chef, real name Nusret Gokce, was seen kissing the World Cup trophy and requesting photos with players at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday after Argentina defeated France on penalties.

Several players obliged to take pictures, although Lionel Messi appeared to snub Salt Bae. Footage online showed some awkward interactions as the chef attempted to get his hands on the iconic trophy.

FIFA has responded to widespread bewilderment and a backlash from fans, issuing a statement on Thursday.

“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,” the message stated.

There was bewilderment as to how the chef joined the celebrations.

©  Robert Michael / picture alliance via Getty Images

FIFA rules ordinarily dictate that only a select group of people can touch the famous gold trophy, including players and heads of state.

Salt Bae, 39, shared a series of images and videos of himself alongside Argentinian players with his 49.9 million Instagram followers after the final.

But the scenes caused bafflement as to how he had managed to the join the celebrations and roam the pitch at free will.

Salt Bae became a viral star in 2017 for his extravagant method of seasoning and preparing meat at his restaurants.

His ‘Nusr-Et’ chain of high-end eateries can be found in cities such as Dubai and New York, and are often frequented by celebrities.

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has previously been seen visiting one of his restaurants in Dubai, praising him as “the best of the best.” 

The menu can set customers back thousands of dollars, and includes his notoriously indulgent tomahawk steak wrapped in gold leaf.

Salt Bae was a regular face at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and at one game was seen posing in the VIP seats with Infantino and a host of Brazilian football legends.

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