Fifa World Cup: 4 controversies that fired up social media after the tournament final

Taking the world by storm, these scandals have brought football fans together

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 3:56 PM

The Fifa World Cup may have come to a close last week however, certain controversies kept the fire of the mega sporting event burning, globally.

Taking the world by storm, these scandals have brought football fans together.

Here's a look at four such major stories:

Salt Bae's 'undue access' to football pitch

Photo/screengrab: @nusr_et/Instagram
Photo/screengrab: @nusr_et/Instagram

Hours after the World Cup final ended, pictures of the famous chef Salt Bae went viral. Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, was pictured holding and kissing the trophy after Argentina beat France in Sunday's final in Qatar.

The Turkish entrepreneur was widely criticised for twice grabbing the arm of Messi, who tried to sidestep the unwanted attention.

He was also photographed with Angel di Maria, Lisandro Martinez and even seen sinking his teeth into another player's medal.

Fifa rules state that the World Cup trophy can only be held by the tournament winners as well as the likes of Fifa officials and heads of state.

"Following a review, Fifa has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail stadium on December 18," a spokesman told the BBC.

Referee criticised for Argentina goal; hits back

Argentina's Lionel Messi (right) with referee Szymon Marciniak during the World Cup final. (Reuters)
Argentina's Lionel Messi (right) with referee Szymon Marciniak during the World Cup final. (Reuters)

Szymon Marciniak, the first referee from Poland to officiate a World Cup final, faced criticism from French media that he should have chalked off Messi's extra-time goal because two Argentina substitutes appeared to enter the pitch before the ball went into the net.

French newspaper L'Equipe mentioned the International Football Association Board's Law 3, paragraph 9, which includes that the referee must disallow the goal if a substituted player was on the field of play when the goal was scored.

Marciniak responded to the criticism in a unique manner.

He pulled up a screenshot on his phone that showed seven French substitutes had entered the field while they were celebrating one of Mbappe's goals.

"The French didn't mention this photo, where you can see how there are seven Frenchmen on the pitch when Mbappe scores a goal," Marciniak said as he held up the phone while speaking to reporters.

"Vulgar" taunting of Kylian Mbappe by fans

Argentina players are pictured on a bus during the victory parade as fans celebrate (Photo: Reuters)
Argentina players are pictured on a bus during the victory parade as fans celebrate (Photo: Reuters)

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said that she may contact her Argentine counterpart over the "vulgar" taunting of French forward Kylian Mbappe by some Argentina fans in Buenos Aires as they celebrated the return of the World Cup winners.

During Argentina's jubilant homecoming, a group of fans set alight a makeshift coffin lid adorned with a cross and picture of Mbappe, while Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez clutched a toy baby with Mbappe's face on it during an open-top bus parade through the capital.

Images of both went viral on social media.

Fifa deletes viral tweets after they appear to troll Ronaldo

Fifa, football's world governing body, did not waste time after the match to declare Messi as the GOAT. On it's Twitter account it declared, “The GOAT debate is settled. The ultimate prize is now part of the collection. The legacy is complete," accompanied with a picture of Messi holding his World Cup trophy.

That post was, however, not appreciated by fans of other football superstars and fans of the GOATs locked horns on Twitter. After facing backlash from Cristiano Ronaldo fans, claiming that the organisation is taking a dig at the Portuguese player, Fifa has now deleted the tweet.

Fans slammed the post as being biased and "officially" elevating the Argentinian above the Portuguese. One account posted on the platform saying, "Fifa have no business having the goat debate is over in an official tweet from their official account," stating this would naturally fuel controversies among fans.

(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)

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