London Irish lose sponsorship over Paddy Jackson signing
Last Updated: 13/06/19 9:51pm
Drinks giant Diageo has ended its long-term sponsorship of London Irish in response to the signing of former Ireland international Paddy Jackson.
The former Ulster fly-half was found not guilty of rape last year had his contract revoked by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) following the trial in Belfast.
Jackson has been playing for Perpignan in France and is due to reunite at London Irish with former Ulster coach Les Kiss and ex-Ireland coach Declan Kidney.
"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 company, owner of Irish beer brand Guinness, said in a statement.
Guinness have been linked to the club for some 40 years, since before the professional era.
London Irish said they were "understandably disappointed" by the decision and regretted the relationship had ended in such a manner.
"The club has always respected the right for everyone to have an opinion, and their right to express that opinion," they said in a statement.
"London Irish has been open and honest with all of its sponsors, including offering to meet Diageo senior management in Dublin in May, 2019. This offer was not taken up."