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'It's ridiculous' - FIFA accused of cronyism after Salt Bae appeared to upset Lionel Messi and broke convention by holding World Cup trophy during Argentina celebrations on the pitch

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FIFA have been accused of cronyism after celebrity chef Salt Bae was allowed onto the pitch to join in with World Cup celebrations in Argentina.

The right to touch the trophy is restricted to a select group of people, including players who have won it and heads of state, but those FIFA regulations did not apply at Salt Bae on Sunday.

Salt Bae caused a stir with his role in the Argentinian celebrations

Salt Bae caused a stir with his role in the Argentinian celebrations

Messi didn't seem pleased to see him

Messi didn’t seem pleased to see him

After Lionel Messi and co. beat France on penalties arguably the most dramatic finale of all timethe famous cook took full advantage of exclusive access to the players and the trophy.

Fans were left baffled by footage of Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, appearing to disturb the victorious players as they tried to enjoy their incredible win.

The chef, who rose to fame with his basting technique and charges £1,450 for a steak, posted a number of images to his Instagram, including a photo alongside Argentine hero Messi.

However, footage has since emerged of Salt Bae being ignored by Messi twice, before the captain reluctantly agreed to pose for a picture.

The Turk also shared a clip in which he snatches the trophy from Cristian Romero, who was trying to spend some time with his son, before trying to snatch it from Lisandro Martinez.

Many were quick to point to Salt Bae’s close relationship with FIFA President Gianni Infantino – and world football’s governing body declined to comment on the matter.

For former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan, it’s because FIFA has no legs to stand on.

“Maybe he thought he had a stake in the event,” Jordan joked in reference to the chef thing.

Of course, it’s cronyism. It absolutely is. You look at it and say, ‘Why would that happen?’ Then you see where Infantino eats when he’s there.

It’s ridiculous. It’s a ridiculous look. We have Messi wearing a traditional Arabic coatwhich was weird but I understand why they did it.

“Now we have these highfalutin chiefs that we have a beef with because they go to the field.

It defies convention, it breaks protocol. It looks like cronyism, it smells like cronyism, it works and talks like cronyism, so guess what it is? It’s bloody cronyism.

It’s not professional. There is no place for him. He shouldn’t have been in the field.

Infantino made a concerted effort to be the center of attention during the World Cup – from this one hour monologue to his unnecessarily long involvement in the trophy lift.

Messi could barely escape the clutches of Infantino before joining his teammates


Messi could barely escape the clutches of Infantino before joining his teammates

And now Jordan is suggesting that the FIFA President’s behavior has come back to bite him.

He added: “What does FIFA do? When they walk around town they really let you know they are there. It’s like the Vatican falling in places.

“I’m surprised they want this kind of review. By the very nature of Infantino beating his gums, he has drawn extra attention to everything FIFA does. So you want the look to be just right.

“You want the standards to be met. You don’t need a highfalutin cook running around the pitch, putting his arm around a player who just won the World Cup. Not necessary and not the look we want.


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