Salt Bae – who’s real name is Nusret Gokce – was pictured with the World Cup trophy and took for photos with several of Argentina’s stars at the Lusail Stadium.
In a series of videos posted on his own Instagram, the famous steak chef interrupted the likes of Angel di Maria, Cristian Romero and Lisandro Martinez as they posed with the World Cup, leaving the trio looking rather awkward as a result.
Simon Jordan accused FIFA of cronyism after Salt Bae’s (above) antics on the pitch at the World Cup final, with the celebrity chef known to be a friend of president Gianni Infantino
The chef was also seen desperately trying to get Lionel Messi’s attention, despite the player not seeming to be keen to speak with him, before he made another attempt to pull the Argentinian back towards him – he eventually got a photo with the 35-year-old but Messi did not seem too pleased about it.
Gokce is known to be a close friend of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and actually breached the world governing body’s strict regulations regarding who is allowed to touch the World Cup trophy.
‘Its current design dates back to 1974,’ FIFA’s website reads. ‘As one of the most recognised sports symbols in the world 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 winners of the Fifa World Cup and heads of state.’
And Jordan slammed FIFA after Salt Bae’s antics on Sunday, arguing it was an abuse of their power.
He was seen attempting to catch Lionel Messi’s attention only for him to initially ignore him
Messi eventually allowed Gokce, a photo although he appeared far from pleased about it
Jordan slammed FIFA’s antics regarding Salt Bae’s behaviour and also criticised Infantino
‘Maybe he thought he had a stake in the event,’ the former Crystal Palace chairman joked on talkSPORT, in reference to Salt Bae’s steak restaurant.
‘Of course it’s cronyism. It absolutely is. You look at it and say, “Why would it happen?” Then you see where Infantino eats when he’s over there.
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s a ridiculous look. We’ve have Messi wearing a traditional Arab cloak, which was strange but I understand why they’ve done it.
‘Now we have these highfalutin chefs who we’ve got a beef with because they’re going on the pitch.
‘It defies convention, it breaks protocol. It looks like cronyism, it smells like cronyism, it walks and talks like cronyism, so guess what it is? It’s bleeding cronyism.
‘It’s unprofessional. There’s no place for him. He shouldn’t have been on the pitch.’
Salt Bae contravened FIFA regulations regarding who is allowed to touch the official trophy
Infantino also received criticism for his role at the World Cup, with the administrator making several bizarre remarks during an hour-long speech earlier in the tournament, while he also appeared to be front-and-centre during Argentina’s trophy lift.
And Jordan believed the FIFA’s president’s reputation was harmed by his behaviour in Qatar.
He added: ‘What are FIFA doing? When they stroll into town, they really let you know they’re there. It’s like the Vatican dropping into places.
‘I’m surprised they would want this sort of scrutiny. By the very nature of Infantino flapping his gums, he has drawn extra attention to everything FIFA does. So you want the look to be right.
The celebrity chef pressed several of Argentina’s stars for a photo with the World Cup trophy
Jordan also slammed Infantino for his behaviour throughout the tournament including the final
‘You want standards to be upheld. You don’t need a highfalutin cook running around the pitch, putting his arm around a player who has just won the World Cup. Not necessary and not the look we want.’
Salt Bae was thrust into the spotlight back in 2017 after an iconic video of him sprinkling salt onto a steak went viral online.
The 39-year-old has since developed friendships with many high-profile celebrities, including a number of football stars who visit his restaurants on a regular basis, where he charges £1,450 for a steak.
He was also pictured with official FIFA accreditation while on the pitch, although the governing body has not commented on how this happened.
In light of Salt Bae’s uncomfortable antics, FIFA are facing questions around his access to the pitch along with his behaviour.