Fifa investigating Salt Bae's 'undue access'

Published on: 22 June 2023

Salt Bae was seen kissing the World Cup trophy

Fifa is investigating how celebrity chef Salt Bae and a number of other people gained "undue access" to the pitch at the end of the World Cup final in Qatar.

Salt Bae, the Turkish chef whose real name is Nusret Gokce, was pictured holding and kissing the World Cup trophy while celebrating with Argentina players after their win over France.

Fifa rules state the trophy can only be held by a "very select" group of people, including tournament winners, Fifa officials and heads of state.

In a statement to BBC Sport, a Fifa spokesperson said: "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."

Salt Bae owns a chain of luxury steakhouses and rose to fame in 2017 after his technique for preparing and seasoning meat became an internet meme.

View more on instagram

Many current and former footballers, including Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, have eaten at Salt Bae's restaurants.

In November, during the World Cup, he posted a video of himself embracing Fifa president Gianni Infantino, with whom he was later pictured in the VIP seats at a game with Brazil legends Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cafu.

Messi appeared to ignore Salt Bae in the hectic scenes after Argentina's win as the chef tried to get his attention.