Thursday, December 22, 2022 – FIFA has spoken out after Salt Bae was pictured taking photos with Lionel Messi and his teammates at the World Cup final in Qatar.
Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, broke FIFA rules by touching and holding the World Cup as he joined in with Argentina’s celebrations on the pitch after their World Cup win.
World football’s governing body had opted for a vow of silence on Salt Bae’s antics – which have been widely criticised on social media – before finally commenting Thursday afternoon.
FIFA have vowed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and suggested Salt Bae ‘gained undue access to the pitch’.
‘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,’ a spokesperson told Sportsmail.
Questions have been raised about the close relationship between the Turkish chef and FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Salt Bae was given a VVIP pass for the final by Infantino, despite him having no links or ties to football, the teams involved or the tournament itself.
Gokce was able to access the pitch at the Lusail Stadium and was pictured holding the trophy and posing for pictures with the iconic golden prize.
Football’s governing body have a set of rules surrounding the World Cup trophy, with a very specific list of those allowed to touch it.
‘Its current design dates back to 1974,’ FIFA’s website reads. ‘As one of the most recognised sports symbols in the world and a priceless icon, the original Fifa World Cup Trophy 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.’
Salt Bae, who does not meet any of the criteria outlined by FIFA, has openly promoted pictures of himself with the trophy on Instagram despite the blatant rule breach.