Guinness cuts sponsorship to team that signed player acquitted of rape
The owner of Guinness has decided to end its sponsorship of the London Irish Rugby Club over its decision to sign Paddy Jackson, who was last year acquitted of rape.
Drinks company Diageo said it had decided to put an end to the nearly 30-year association with the club as the Jacksons signing went against its principles.
Jackson, 27, was acquitted of rape by Belfast Crown Court last year alongside former teammate Stuart Olding, 26. The two had been accused of raping a woman at Mr Jacksons house in the early hours of 28 June 2016.
Diageo stopped their sponsorship of the London Rugby Club saying: Their recent decision is not consistent with our values and so we have ended our sponsorship.
In a statement on Thursday evening, London Irish said its management is understandably disappointed that Diageo has chosen not to renew its sponsorship agreement with the club, and particularly the manner in which the company has chosen to do so.
London Irish will be moving on without the support of Diageo, who have chosen to stand down after a nearly 30-year association with the club, a spokesperson said.
Jackson, capped by Ireland 25 times, and Olding had their Ireland and Ulster contracts revoked last year due to sexually explicit messages exchanged between players and their friends in the wake of the alleged assault.
Jackson apologised unreservedly for the degrading Whatsapp conversations he engaged.