Salt Bae was seen handling the World Cup and disturbing players during their celebrations after the final ©Getty Images

FIFA has launched an investigation into how Turkish chef Salt Bae was able to gain access to the pitch and handle the trophy after the World Cup final won by Argentina.

Salt Bae's real name is Nusret Gökçe, and he owns a chain of luxury steakhouses and has become known for his signature sprinkling of salt.

He was widely criticised for his behaviour after Argentina's dramatic victory on penalties against France on Sunday (December 18) at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, where he was seen interrupting players' celebrations and handling the trophy.

Some of the players including Argentinian star Lionel Messi appeared irritated at Salt Bae's presence, although the tournament's Golden Ball winner is among those pictured with the chef on his Instagram account.

Under FIFA rules, World Cup winners, FIFA officials and heads of state are among the limited group of people able to hold the trophy, which has an estimated value of around $20 million (£16.6 million/€18.7 million).

Football's global governing body has confirmed it is investigating how he and other guests were able to gain access to the pitch.

"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," a statement read.

"The appropriate internal action will be taken."

Salt Bae had VIP access during the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and posted numerous photos and videos to his social media, including with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

A video has also surfaced from January 2021 in which Infantino is seen imitating Salt Bae's seasoning technique and describing the chef as a "legend" at one of his restaurants in Dubai.

The chef has previously been pictured with Real Madrid players after their UEFA Champions League final victory in 2018.

He faced criticism after that match too for posing with Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, who had earlier left the pitch in tears after being taken off injured during the first half of Liverpool's 3-1 defeat.

Argentina's players have also sparked controversy for their celebrations in the aftermath of the World Cup final including mocking French player and tournament top scorer Kylian Mbappé, who netted a hat-trick against them in the 3-3 draw.

French Football Federation President Noël Le Graët described their conduct as "abnormal".