Social media has reacted to a resurfaced video of FIFA President Gianni Infantino visiting Salt Bae’s restaurant in Dubai last year.
Questions have been raised as to why the celebrity chef was allowed onto the pitch as Argentina players celebrated their World Cup triumph on Sunday.
Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, broke FIFA rules by touching and holding the World Cup after Argentina beat France on penalties.
Footage of GIanni Infantino’s visit to Salt Bae’s restaurant in Dubai last year has resurfaced
Salt Bae was able to step onto the pitch after the final and held the World Cup trophy
Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, broke FIFA trophy rules with his post-final antics
FIFA has promised to investigate the circumstances of the incident and suggested Salt Bae was given “unauthorized access to the pitch”.
“Following an investigation, FIFA has identified individuals gaining unauthorized access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail Stadium on December 18. Appropriate internal measures will be taken,” a spokesman told Sportsmail.
Video of Infantino’s visit to Salt Bae’s restaurant in Dubai in January 2021 was circulated.
The video shows the chef going about his normal routine as he prepares the FIFA President’s meal, before Infantino then sprinkles the salt over his meal.
Infantino then says, “Mr Nusret. Number one. The best of the best. Unforgettable evening in Dubai and I will be back. Legend – number one.’
Despite the very friendly compliments in January 2021, it was reported by Sky reporter Kaveh Solhekol that the FIFA President unfollowed Salt Bae on Instagram.
Meanwhile, social media users attacked Infantino and Salt Bae in response to the video.
Comedian Simon Brodkin, who famously threw money at former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, responded: “Today I’d like to have a Barking stop the World Cup if he gives me a free steak.”
Infantino praised Salt Bae in the video but has reportedly unfollowed the Turkish chef
Jessica Oakes tweeted, “makes me cringe,” while Lee Johnson commented, “weird and weird together here.”
Twitter user Pritchy wrote, “We can guarantee Infantino didn’t pay a penny for this meal.”
Football fan Ben White said: “None of these people should be able to touch the World Cup.”
Connor Casey added: “AaaaaAAAARGH that’s been on long enough I’m sick of seeing this man.”
The close relationship between the Turkish chef and FIFA President Infantino caused a stir. Salt Bae received a VVIP pass to the finals from Infantino despite having no ties or connections to football, the teams involved, or the tournament itself.
Gokce was able to step onto the pitch at Lusail Stadium and was pictured with the trophy in hand and posed for photos with the iconic golden award.
The Football Association has a set of rules surrounding the World Cup trophy, with a very specific list of those who are allowed to touch it.
“The current design dates back to 1974,” reads the FIFA website. ‘One of the most recognizable sporting symbols in the world and a priceless icon, the original FIFA World Cup Trophy is only to be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former FIFA World Cup winners and heads of state.’
Salt Bae, who does not meet any of FIFA’s criteria, has openly promoted pictures of himself holding the trophy on Instagram despite the blatant breach of the rules.
He was also seen trying desperately to join Argentina’s celebrations after their dramatic win over France, with a series of shabby videos showing his clumsy attempts to hold the trophy and starring alongside the likes of Angel di Maria and Lisandro Martinez to pose photos.
After lifting the trophy, Messi and his Argentinian teammates were joined by Salt Bae
The famous steak chef was desperately trying to take part in their celebrations
FIFA is facing questions as to how Salt Bae gained access to the pitch at Lusail Stadium
The 39-year-old also failed to meet the required criteria to step onto the pitch and hold the trophy
In another clip that has surfaced online, Gokce also appeared to be eclipsed by Messi in an awkward exchange as he tried to catch the PSG superstar’s attention ahead of his long-awaited Cup win at the Lusail Stadium.
The culinary celebrity responded to the criticism by sharing footage showing him meeting Messi and posing with the Argentina captain in 2018.
After dining with then-Man United midfielder Paul Pogba at one of Salt Bae’s restaurants in Dubai, Messi can be seen shaking hands with the restaurateur and even enjoying a hug before posing for a photo.