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FIFA probes Salt Bae’s ‘undue access’

‘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.’

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The International Football Federation is investigating how celebrity chef Salt Bae gained “undue access” to the pitch after the World Cup final where he enthusiastically posed for photos with surprised Argentina players, including a bemused and irritated Lionel Messi.

Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gokce, was pictured holding and kissing the trophy after Argentina beat France in the final in Qatar.

The Turkish entrepreneur was widely criticized for twice grabbing the arm of Messi, who tried to sidestep the unwanted attention.

He was also photographed with Angel di Maria, Lisandro Martinez and even seen sinking his teeth into another player’s medal.

FIFA rules state the World Cup trophy can only be held by the tournament winners and the likes of FIFA officials and heads of state.

“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,” a spokesman told the BBC.

“The appropriate internal action will be taken.”

Salt Bae, 39, owns a chain of luxury restaurants around the world including Beverly Hills in Los Angeles and London’s swish Knightsbridge.

His technique for preparing and seasoning meat has become an internet meme.

Earlier in the World Cup, he posted a video of himself at a match sitting alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

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