Why was Salt Bae at the World Cup final? Did he break FIFA regulations, controversy explained

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Salt Bae entered the pitch during Argentina’s World Cup celebrations

Salt Bae has been heavily criticised by football fans on social media after entering the pitch during Argentina’s World Cup final celebrations.

The celebrity chef was allowed onto the pitch after the full-time whistle at the Lusail Iconic Stadium and was seen taking pictures alongside Argentina’s World Cup winners including Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi.

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The victory saw Messi and his team lift Argentina’s first World Cup title since 1986 - sparking mass celebrations on the pitch.

But who is Salt Bae and what did he do during the World Cup final celebrations?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Salt Bae?

Salt Bae is a Turkish butcher, chef, food entertainer and social media influencer.

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Nuret Gokche is the man behind the nickname Salt Bae. The celebrity chef was born in 1983 and was raised in the Turkish city of Erzurum.

Salt Bae went viral on social media in 2017. (Getty Images)Salt Bae went viral on social media in 2017. (Getty Images)
Salt Bae went viral on social media in 2017. (Getty Images) | Getty Images for Laureus

In his 20s, Gokche left Turkey to visit the Argentine capital Bunos Aires to learn more about the art of butchery. He opened his first Nusr-Et steakhouse in Istanbul in 2010 and has gone on to expand the business on a global scale with restaurants across the Middle East including Ankara, Doha and Dubai.

Gokche expanded his chain to London in September 2021 and opened up a new steakhouse in the Knightsbridge area.

How did Salt Bae become famous?

The Turkish chef rose to stardom in 2017 and went viral for an internet meme which shows him passionately preparing a steak in one of his restaurants.

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Gokche went on to release a series of follow up videos where he would prepare steaks in his restaurants and fans began to take great enjoyment in the way he would flamboyantly sprinkle salt on the meat at the end of videos and it was at this moment that he was nicknamed Salt Bae.

Since his rise to fame Salt Bae has cooked for a number of household names including footballer David Beckham and Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio. He has a huge following of 49.8 million people on Instagram.

What happened after the World Cup final?

Salt Bae was filmed making his way onto the pitch during Argentina’s World Cup celebrations. The restaurant owner is believed to have been granted access to join in with the celebrations by FIFA president Gianni Infantino who appears to be a close friend of his.

Viral footage shows the celebrity chef appearing to pester Lionel Messi for a photo with the World Cup while celebrating with his Argentina team mates.

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Salt Bae eventually got his wish and performed his signature hand gesture on the trophy itself alongside Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez. He is also filmed clinking his rings off the trophy while a bemused Angel Di Maria looks on at him.

Salt Bae reportedly broke FIFA protocol by touching the trophy. FIFA regulations state that the trophy can only be “held by a very select group of people, including former winners of the World Cup and heads of state.”

How have people reacted on social media?

Salt Bae’s actions have caused widespread outrage with football fans on social media.

Host of The Football Terrace, Terry Flowers tweeted: “This is ridiculous, shame on FIFA for allowing him to touch, kiss, and hold the World Cup. Salt Bae drops salt on meat what is he doing there?”

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Another user tweeted a video of Salt Bae interacting with several of the Argentina players and posted the caption: “A collection of Salt Bae trying for clout with these players. So painful to watch. Like forcing himself between two players and trying to take the trophy away, while the players try to maintain professionalism but their faces can be clearly read they are annoyed.”

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