Fifa to investigate Salt Bae's 'undue access' to World Cup final pitch

Celebrity chef was seen holding the trophy, which can be handled only by the winners and heads of state

Celebrity chef Nusret Gokce, better known as Salt Bae, holds the World Cup trophy after the 2022 final between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium. Getty
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Fifa are investigating how celebrity chef Salt Bae gained "undue access" to the pitch after the World Cup final where he enthusiastically posed for photos with surprised Argentina players including a bemused and irritated Lionel Messi.

Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gokce, was pictured holding and kissing the trophy after Argentina beat France in Sunday's final in Qatar.

The Turkish entrepreneur was photographed with Angel di Maria, Lisandro Martinez and even seen sinking his teeth into another player's medal.

Fifa describes the trophy as “a priceless icon” which “can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former winners of the Fifa World Cup and heads of state.”

“Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail stadium on December 18,” the world football body said. “The appropriate internal action will be taken.”

The chef, who has a restaurant in Doha, had VIP access during the World Cup and posted photos and video clips on social media.

After Argentina’s win in a penalty shootout following a thrilling 3-3 draw, he was filmed grabbing the arm of captain Lionel Messi on the field to get his attention. The Argentine great seemed irritated in the film clip though later posed for a photo that Salt Bae posted on Instagram.

Updated: December 23, 2022, 6:36 AM