Celebrity chef Salt Bae created a huge uproar after the World Cup 2022 final in Qatar last year. Following Argentina‘s victory over France in the final, Lionel Messi and his teammates could be seen celebrating with their families. However, the title celebrations were marred by the unsolicited presence of Salt Bae, which incurred the wrath of the fans.
As per FIFA‘s rules, only selected personnel are allowed to touch the iconic World Cup trophy. They include former winners of the World Cup and heads of state. Therefore, Salt Bae holding the World Cup trophy during the celebrations raised quite a few eyebrows. Moreover, the Turkish chef also harassed several Argentine players including Lionel Messi, and pestered them for photographs.
After more than six months since the incident occurred, Salt Bae has finally come clean about the controversy. He reportedly said, “It was a combination of my love of Argentina and my excitement. I love Argentina; I’ve lived there. I went to support them. Many of [the team] have come to the restaurant. I didn’t feel like a stranger. It was a special moment.”
🚨😡 Lionel Messi’s face said it all when Salt Bae thought it was okay to grab him on the pitch during those wild World Cup final celebrations! 😤 But guess what? Salt Bae is now throwing in the towel, claiming he’ll NEVER step foot on a World Cup pitch again! 😱 pic.twitter.com/3hwwU8TIdJ
— The FTBL Index 🎙 ⚽ (@TheFootballInd) June 26, 2023
He added, “I can’t do anything about the reason I was there, but I would never, ever step on the World Cup pitch again. I never, ever wanted to overshadow anything. I didn’t like the attention, I didn’t kick anyone, or steal anything.” In addition to this, he also stated that although there were “at least another 1,000 people on the pitch“, only he was crucified in front of the world.
The aftermath of Salt Bae’s harassment of Lionel Messi
Following the outrage over Salt Bae’s actions in the World Cup 2022 final, FIFA stated that they would conduct an internal probe into the matter. While fans were expecting FIFA to ban the 39-year-old superstar chef, any reports about the investigation dissipated over time. Although FIFA president Gianni Infantino unfollowed his long-time friend, Salt Bae, on Instagram in the aftermath of this incident.
🚨 FIFA president Gianni Infantino ‘unfollows’ Salt Bae on Instagram after World Cup final controversy pic.twitter.com/ndQ7ttPxpA
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) December 23, 2022
While FIFA didn’t take any further action against Salt Bae, other organizations did take some stern measures against him. Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, was banned from attending the 2023 US Open final due to his infamous actions in Qatar last year. Moreover, Nusret was also prohibited from attending the Rolling Loud LA music festival in March this year, as confirmed by Rolling Loud’s Twitter account.
Salt Bae has now been banned from attending Rolling Loud‼️👀 pic.twitter.com/aOMuLE1Qqu
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) December 23, 2022
Although the FIFA World Cup 2022 final wasn’t the only incident that angered fans over Nusret’s behavior. American media influencer and boxer Jake Paul highlighted that Nusret has also harassed other soccer stars like Mohammed Salah before. Moreover, PSG star Kylian Mbappe was also pestered by Nusret when the chef almost forcibly tried to kiss Mbappe when the French forward visited his restaurant in Greece.