FIFA has launched an investigation into how individuals gained ‘undue access’ to the pitch after the World Cup final after images and videos of celebrity Turkish chef Nusret Gokce celebrating with the Argentine players went viral on social networks.
Gokce, who owns a chain of restaurants and is known as “Salt Bae” for his theatrical style of sprinkling salt on his steaks, posted videos and photos on his Instagram page of himself with players Argentinians after their victory against France in the final.
He was also pictured holding the World Cup trophy. According to the FIFA website, the trophy can only be touched by a “very select group of people”, including former winners and heads of state.
Videos circulating on social media also showed Gokce grabbing Lionel Messi’s arm in an attempt to get the Argentina captain’s attention.
“After a review, FIFA has established how individuals gained improper access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail Stadium on December 18,” the world football governing body said in a statement.
“Appropriate internal measures will be taken.”
Gokce went viral in 2017 after posting videos of himself salting meat with a cobra-like maneuver.
He has nearly 50 million Instagram followers and helped launch Nusr-Et restaurants, which charge several hundred dollars for certain cuts of meat, in a number of locations around the world.
The restaurateur has been pictured with several footballers and other celebrities in his restaurants, including Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe.
He posted a video of a previous encounter with Messi on his Instagram earlier this week.