Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

18.24 13 Jun 2019


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Drinks giant Diageo has cancelled its sponsorship of the English Premiership club London Irish due to the signing of former Ireland international Paddy Jackson.

Jackson was acquitted of rape by a Belfast court last year. The IRFU revoked the player's contract in the wake of the trial.

The beverage company whose brands include the likes of Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys, opened talks with the newly-promoted club this week due to their "serious concerns" over the recruitment of Jackson.

In a statement released on Thursday, Diageo said: "We have met with the club to express our concerns. Their recent decision is not consistent with our values and so we have ended our sponsorship."

The association between the two organisations dates back to 1992.

Last week the online shopping site Cash Converters ended their deal with the club although London Irish responded and claimed that the deal was cancelled before the player's signing was revealed.

“As a company, we are committed to the highest possible standards when it comes to our investments in any sponsorships and collaborations," read a statement from Cash Converters on Twitter.

"As a result of a detailed and thorough review of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club.”

Jackson moved to France to sign for Perpignan last year after his IRFU contract was cancelled but it was announced that he was signed by the English club in May.

Declan Kidney, who gave Jackson his international debut as Ireland head coach, is the director of rugby at London Irish and had defended the club's signing of the outhalf.

"We are fully aware that there was a court case that Paddy was involved in but that has  been  dealt  with," Kidney said.

"What  has gone on in the past had gone on in the past and we are just trying to move on to the future.

"We are trying to put the best team together and when someone with a bit of international experience becomes available and is willing to buy into what we are doing, we are very happy to have them."

 


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