Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, or more commonly known as Salt Bae, has been banned from a football competition in the United States after violating FIFA’s golden rule on the pitch after the World Cup final - do not touch the trophy.
The Kurdish-Turkish celebrity chef was seen on the pitch after Argentina beat France in a penalty shoot-out to secure the trophy for the first time since Madona won football's premier tournament in 1986. He posed photos of him alongside Argentina players, bit into a medal, held the World Cup trophy, and even kissed it.
According to FIFA rules, the trophy can only be touched and held by winners of the World Cup and heads of state.
The legendary trophy is 18-carat gold and estimated to be worth around £17.7 million.
A video showing Lionel Messi trying to ignore the chef after the game, with the Turk pursuing him through the crowd and grabbing at his arm to force a handshake picture, was widely shared on social media.
Lionel Messi is trending for ignoring Salt Bae at the World Cup celebration 😂 pic.twitter.com/m9aVT80Bs2
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) December 20, 2022
Following his widely denounced behaviour at the World Cup final, the US Open Cup, the oldest and most prestigious soccer tournament in America, said in a tweet that they were banning the celebrity chef from attending the showpiece event in 2023.
Salt Bae is hereby banned from the 2023 @opencup Final
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) December 20, 2022
Gökçe owns a global chain of Nusr-Et restaurants and is known for his theatrical, cobra-like style of sprinkling salt on his steaks.
He went viral in 2017 after posting videos of himself salting meat and now has nearly 50 million Instagram followers. His restaurants in the Middle East, New York and Miami charge several hundred dollars for some cuts of meat.
FIFA is investigating how the celebrity chef and a number of other people gained "undue access" to the pitch at the end of the World Cup final in Qatar.
In a statement to BBC Sport, a FIFA spokesperson said: "Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail stadium on 18 December.
"The appropriate internal action will be taken."
Many current and former footballers, including Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, have eaten at Nusr-Et restaurants.
In November, he posted a video of himself embracing FIFA president Gianni Infantino, with whom he was later pictured in the VIP seats at a game with Brazil legends Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cafu.
READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo: €213m-a-year offer in Saudi Arabia, the World Cup and... Greece!