Teddy Riner, King Mohammed VI, Qatar's Emir and Paris-Saint-Germain’s new judo section

In a new investigation published Tuesday, French newspaper Mediapart revealed that in 2017 King Mohammed had allegedly helped his friend, French judoka Teddy Riner, get recruited by Paris Saint-Germain. Reportedly, the Qatari Emir intervened to create an exclusive judo section for the athlete.

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King Mohammed VI. / Ph. DR

In an investigation made public, Tuesday, French online investigative and opinion newspaper Mediapart revealed that French judoka Teddy Riner was hired by French club Paris Saint-Germain with the help of King Mohammed VI and Qatari Emir Tamim al-Thani.

Quoting documents leaked by investigative journalism network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) and German news outlet Der Spiegel, Mediapart wrote that in 2017, King Mohammed VI had reportedly «told the Emir of Qatar about the problems of his friend Riner». The latter had allegedly «asked his advisers to create a judo section at PSG, to be able to hire the judoka and pay him a monthly salary of 40,000 euros», the same newspaper said.

In 2017, when his contract with Levallois Sporting Club was about to expire, without being renewed, Teddy Riner was about to be signed by Orleans, before he was hired by Paris Saint-Germain in August of the same year. Nasser al-Khelaïfi, head of the Parisian club, then contacted him «in person» to announce to him that he wanted to recruit him for the relaunching of «PSG Judo».

However, Teddy Riner had already met, at the end of 2012, the general manager and marketing executive of Paris Saint-Germain F.C. Jean-Claude Blanc, to convince him into relaunching the judo section of the club. «He also spoke about the project a few years later with the boss of the club, Nasser al-Khelaïfi», without being able to make the Parisian club take action.

Promoting judo in Morocco

During the same period, the French judoka, designated «ambassador of Maroc Telecom» in Africa, had allegedly helped the Kingdom «be granted the hosting rights of six judo competitions, including the all categories world championship held in November 2017 in Marrakech».

«When the candidacy of Morocco was submitted to the office of the president of the International Judo Federation, I was asked to give my opinion and I said of course that we must grant the hosting rights to Moroccans».

Teddy Riner

River said that he did not wait for something in return for what he has done. He said that he «supported Morocco because he wants to promote judo in Africa and that the country had organized another competition successfully before».

According to the athlete, his friendship with King Mohammed VI has «nothing to do» with his position at Paris Saint-Germain nor with his mission as an ambassador for Maroc Telecom.

«I heard this rumor but I do not want to comment on it», he said. «I know Mohammed VI very well and I have met Tamim al-Thani several times, who told me about this project. But we will never know if it really happened in that way», he concluded.

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