FIFA World Cup 2022: Salt Bae under investigation after kissing trophy at soccer final, upsetting Lionel Messi

key points
  • Celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ is being investigated by FIFA for receiving “improper access” to the World Cup final pitch.
  • According to FIFA’s rules on its website, only “highly selected individuals” are allowed to touch the trophy.
  • It is speculated that Salt Bae was given access through his friendship with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
FIFA has launched an investigation into how celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ was able to gain access to the World Cup football pitch and touch the prestigious competition’s trophy after .
Salt Bae, the famous Turkish chef whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, posted a series of pictures and videos online of himself carrying and kissing the trophy at the closing ceremony on Sunday evening (local time) in Qatar’s Lusail Stadium.

This is despite strict FIFA rules which state that “a very select group of people” can touch the trophy, including former World Cup winners and heads of state.

In a statement to the BBC, FIFA said an investigation was underway.
“Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained improper access to the pitch following the closing ceremony at Lusail Stadium on December 18,” the statement said.

“Appropriate internal measures will be taken.”

Salt Bae rose to fame in 2017 after videos of himself sprinkling salt on a steak at one of his upscale steakhouses, Nusr Et, went viral and has become a well-known meme.
Footage of Salt Bae on the pitch shows the chef wearing a ‘VIP access’ lanyard as he mingles with Argentina players, including captain Lionel Messi.

Salt Bae appeared to grab Messi’s arm a few times in an attempt to get his attention, as the star hugged his teammates. The two later shook hands and took a photo together.

There is speculation online about Salt Bae’s access to the field due to his friendship with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Infantino and Gökçe were photographed together at a World Cup match earlier in the tournament.
The president dined at the Dubai-based restaurant Nusr Et in early 2021, posing for a video with the chef and describing him as “the best of the best.”
Infantino was also filmed sprinkling salt over a steak in typical “Salt Bae” fashion, which drew laughs and applause from other patrons.

Famous footballers and other celebrities, including Messi, have dined at some of his restaurants in the past.

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