London – 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 widely criticised for twice grabbing the arm of Messi, who tried to sidestep the unwanted attention.
He was also photographed with Angel di Maria, Lisandro Martinez and even seen sinking his teeth into another player’s medal.
FIFA rules state the World Cup trophy can only be held by the tournament winners and the likes of FIFA officials and heads of state.
FIFA is taking “appropriate internal action” to address breaches of World Cup protocol by a celebrity chef, Salt Bae, who held the gold trophy on the field. pic.twitter.com/uDKMCa4H6I
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 22, 2022
“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,” a spokesman told the BBC.
“The appropriate internal action will be taken.”
Salt Bae, 39, owns a chain of luxury restaurants around the world including Beverly Hills in Los Angeles and London’s swish Knightsbridge.
His technique for preparing and seasoning meat has become an internet meme.
Earlier in the World Cup, he posted a video of himself at a match sitting alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.