FIFA launches investigation over Salt Bae antics after World Cup final

The celebrity chef was widely criticised for his actions after Argentina's win over France in the World Cup final.

Salt Bae, pictured here posing for photos with Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria after the World Cup final.
Salt Bae posed for photos with Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria after the World Cup final. Image: Twitter

FIFA has launched an investigation into how celebrity chef 'Salt Bae' was able to get access to the players and get his hands on the World Cup trophy after Argentina's victory over France in the final. A Turkish chef and social media star whose real name is Nusret Gokce, 'Salt Bae' posted several photos of himself with the World Cup trophy on social media after Sunday's game.

The chef, who rose to fame with a number of viral videos in 2017, also posed for photos with a number of Argentina players and was seen kissing the trophy. Argentina superstar Lionel Messi seemed perturbed by his presence and snubbed his initial attempts to snap a photo with him.

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The chef was photographed with Angel di Maria, Lisandro Martinez and was 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, FIFA officials and heads of state.

After widespread backlash about Salt Bae being on the field, FIFA has announced it is investigating his 'undue access'. A statement on Thursday read: "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 appropriate internal action will be taken."

Salt Bae had posted an image on Instagram earlier this month of himself at a World Cup match alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino, as well as Brazil greats Ronaldo, Cafu and Roberto Carlos. Infantino has been to one of Salt Bae's restaurants in the past, as have Messi and a number of his teammates.

Salt Bae, pictured here kissing the World Cup trophy after Argentina's victory over France in the final.
Salt Bae kisses the World Cup trophy after Argentina's victory over France in the final. (Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images) (dpa/picture alliance via Getty I)

Salt Bae was seen repeatedly grabbing Messi and pestering the Argentinian ace for attention, which viewers labelled 'shameless' and 'pathetic'. Messi turned to look at him briefly at one point, before turning away in a brutal snub for the celebrity chef.

One social media user wrote: “The man’s just won the World Cup literally minutes prior and this ‘celebrity’ is feeling he’s entitled to get his attention." Others pointed out Salt Bae's insistence on getting selfies with players and described the scenes as "cringeworthy".

Argentina move up to second in FIFA rankings

Argentina won their first World Cup trophy since 1986 after a 3-3 draw with France was decided in a penalty shootout. However their stunning triumph wasn't enough to see them overtake Brazil as the world's No.1 ranked team.

Messi's side have moved up one place to second, while runners-up France also advanced one place to third. Belgium fell twi places to fourth after winning only one game in Qatar and failing to advance from the group stage.

Qatar dropped 10 places to No.60 after losing all three of their group games as their home World Cup - the first time in history that a host nation has gone 0-3. And the Socceroos have reached their highest point in the rankings in more than a decade, rising to 27th.

Australia were ranked 39th heading into the World Cup but a remarkable run to the round of 16 has seen them gain 11 places - their highest ranking since March 2012 when they were 20th.

"It's obviously a reflection of what we've recently done (at the FIFA World Cup) and I guess a testament to another achievement by the team," Socceroos captain Mat Ryan said. "We can be extremely proud of what we achieved. I don't think people in Australia quite grasp the scale of what we did in terms of the qualifying process (for the FIFA World Cup) and playing the opposition we did."


1 - Brazil (1840.77 points)

2 - Argentina (1838.38)

3 - France (1823.39)

4 - Belgium (1781.30)

5 - England (1774.19)

6 - Netherlands (1740.92)

7 - Croatia (1727.62)

8 - Italy (1723.56)

9 - Portugal (1702.54)

10 - Spain (1692.71)

with agencies

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