- Celebrity chef “Salt Bae” is under investigation by FIFA for gaining “unauthorized access” to the World Cup final pitch.
- According to FIFA’s rules on their website, only “very select people” are allowed to touch the trophy.
- There is speculation that Salt Bae gained access from his friendship with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
FIFA has launched an investigation into how celebrity chef “Salt Bae” gained access to the World Cup soccer field and touched the competition’s coveted trophy .
Salt Bae, the famous Turkish chef whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, has posted a series of pictures and videos online of himself carrying and kissing the trophy at the closing ceremony at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar on Sunday night (local time).
This is despite FIFA’s strict rules that say “a very select group of people” may touch the trophy, including former world champions and heads of state.
In a statement to the BBC, FIFA said an investigation was ongoing.
“Following a review, FIFA has determined how individuals behaved after the Closing Ceremony at Lusail Stadium on March 18.
“Appropriate internal measures will be taken.”
Salt Bae rose to fame in 2017 after videos of him sprinkling salt on steaks at one of his luxury steakhouses, Nusr Et, went viral and became a well-known meme.
Footage of Salt Bae on the pitch shows the boss wearing a ‘VIP Access’ lanyard as he mingles with Argentinian players including captain Lionel Messi.
Salt Bae appeared to grab Messi’s arm a couple of times to get his attention while the star hugged his team-mates. The two later shook hands and took a picture together.
Speculation is brewing online that Salt Bae’s access to the pitch has been linked to his friendship with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Mr. Infantino and Mr. Gökçe were pictured together at a World Cup match earlier in the tournament.
The President dined at Nusr Et restaurant in Dubai in early 2021, posing for a video with the chef and describing him as “the best of the best”.
Mr. Infantino was also filmed sprinkling salt on steak in a typical “salt bae” manner, to laughter and applause from other guests.
Famous footballers and other celebrities including Messi have dined at some of his restaurants in the past.