FIFA is looking into how celebrity chef Nusret Gokce gained “undue access” to the pitch after the World Cup final, where he eagerly posed for selfies with stunned Argentina players, including a puzzled and unhappy Lionel Messi.
‘Salt Bae’ was photographed holding and kissing the trophy after Argentina defeated France in the final in Qatar on Sunday. The Turkish businessman was pictured alongside Angel di Maria and Lisandro Martinez. Moreover, he was even seen biting into another player’s medal while he posed for several photographs with the trophy as well as the victorious Argentinian players.
The football governing body describes the trophy as “a priceless icon” which “can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former winners of the Fifa World Cup and heads of state.” Such being the case, it is very surprising that Gokce was able to gain a front row seat to the celebrations, let alone be involved in them.
“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. Pending the findings of the investigation, the appropriate internal action will be taken,”FIFA said in an official statement following the World Cup final.
During the tournament, the chef, who owns a restaurant in Doha, got VIP access and shared images and video snippets on social media. Following Argentina’s 3-3 tie in a penalty shootout, he was spotted grasping the arm of captain Lionel Messi on the field to gain his attention. In the film clip, the Argentine great appeared annoyed, but he eventually posed for a shot that Salt Bae uploaded on Instagram.
The Albiceleste claimed a thrilling penalty shootout victory in the World Cup final after 120 minutes of absolute drama. The Argentinians were well on course to capture a third World Cup in normal time, as they were cruising to a 2-0 victory barely ten minutes from full time before Kylian Mbappe sprung to life with two goals in the space of two minutes.
The game was taken into extra time, where Messi and Mbappe scored again, and the tie proceeded to a penalty shootout as Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made a stunning save to deny Randal Kolo Muani a last-second winner.