REVEALED: Steakhouse tycoon Salt Bae broke FIFA rules by hosting the World Cup… as football chiefs question why the celebrity chef was allowed access to the pitch
FIFA is facing questions after celebrity chef Nusret Gokce – better known as Salt Bae – somehow gained access to the pitch at Lusail Stadium after the World Cup final and was seen playing touch the iconic trophy.
The infamous chef stayed on the pitch among the celebrating Argentine players and broke strict FIFA rules on who can touch the World Cup trophy – which Messi and Co lifted after a stunning final that ended in penalties.
Salt Bae – aka Nusret Gokce – broke FIFA rules on who can touch the World Cup trophy
Football’s governing body has very strict rules regarding the trophy, and there is a very specific list of who is allowed to touch it, according to their website.
“Its current design dates back to 1974,” the website says. “As one of the world’s most recognized sporting symbols 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 FIFA World Cup winners and Heads of State.’
Despite being a quick friend of notorious FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Gokce – the owner of a steak restaurant chain – does not meet any of the above criteria and therefore appears to contravene this particular set of guidelines. .
He was seen trying to get Lionel Messi’s attention only for the PSG star to initially ignore him.
He was also pictured with official FIFA accreditation while out on the pitch on Sunday evening, although the governing body has not commented on how it happened.
The restaurant mogul was spotted on the pitch with celebrating Argentinian players
Gokce’s friendship with Infantino is well documented, with the latter visiting Qatar’s steakhouse during the tournament, and can be heard in a video saying, “Football unites the world and Nusret unites the world too.”
If it were suggested that Gokce had in fact obtained official accreditation from FIFA, it could leave them vulnerable to insinuations of special treatment for relatives of their Swiss-born president.
Salt Bae – who stems from his infamous method of salting the meat he serves in his expensive restaurants – is no stranger to interest from the game’s biggest stars, with a litany of football icons regularly attending its establishments.
However, in Messi he found someone who seemed less than willing to give him any attention the day he saw him finally jump into the conversation about the immortality of football, despite eventually putting down for a picture.
Even those who fit the bill to touch the trophy have been criticized for taking to the field, with French President Emmanuel Macron part of a a high-profile attempt to raise the spirits of defeated hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe after the final whistle.
Messi finally allowed Gokce to take a picture of the pair despite looking far from happy