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Cup “a priceless icon”: FIFA investigates after Salt Bae’s pitch attack

Trophy “a priceless icon”
FIFA investigates after Salt Bae’s pitch attack

A memorable World Cup final could have an aftermath for Nusret Gökçe, known as Salt Bae: The celebrity chef makes it onto the lawn of the final stadium in Doha, poses with Argentina’s world champions and kisses the trophy. FIFA is angry.

The world football association apparently wants to investigate the incidents at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar after the Argentine team won the title. FIFA has found that people in the Lusail Stadium have gained unauthorized access to the field, the world association told several media and announced that appropriate internal measures would be taken. FIFA describes the trophy as a “priceless icon” that “can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former FIFA World Cup winners and heads of state”.

Lionel Messi and company’s celebrations after beating France on penalties included famous restaurant owner Nusret Gökçe (pseudonym: Salt Bae) snapping photos with Argentinian players. There are also pictures of him holding the World Cup trophy. The chef, who runs a restaurant in Doha, was a regular FIFA guest during the World Cup with VIP access, posting photos and videos on social media.

After Argentina’s penalty shoot-out win, Gökçe was filmed grabbing captain Lionel Messi’s arm on the pitch to get his attention. The footballer appeared irritated in the film clip but later posed for a photo that Salt Bae posted to Instagram.

Gökçe, whose trademark is the theatrical sprinkling of coarse salt on his products and who is just as theatrically imitated by stars around the world, also became known to less Instagram-savvy people in Germany when he served a steak covered in gold leaf to the then Bayern professional Franck Ribéry. Ribéry was insulted and mocked for the decadent time – including the theatrical salt-scattering gesture – beyond social media.

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