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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 18 June, 2019
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Diageo voices 'serious concerns' over London Irish signing of Paddy Jackson

The company who own the Guinness brand say the recruitment of Jackson is ‘not consistent with our values’.

Jackson runs out for Perpignan in December.
Jackson runs out for Perpignan in December.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

DRINKS INDUSTRY GIANT Diageo has expressed ‘serious concerns’ over London Irish’s signing of ex-Ulster player Paddy Jackson.

Jackson and fellow Ireland international Stuart Olding were both acquitted of rape following a high-profile trial in Belfast last year.

Following the cancellation of their contracts, both players moved to play in France and  after Jackson’s season with Perpignan ended in relegation from the Top 14 the out-half was recruited by English Premiership outfit London Irish.

Asked about the club’s decision to recruit Jackson, a statement released by Diageo said: 

We are meeting the club this week to discuss our serious concerns regarding their decision, which is not consistent with our values.”

While waste management company Powerday is currently the main sponsor front and centre on the team’s jersey, the Guinness brand has been associated with London Irish since 1992. On its website, the club proudly state that the stout is their longest-standing sponsor and part of the ‘London Irish family’.

Last week, re-sale outlet Cash Converters ended their relationship with the newly promoted club saying they were committed to the ‘highest possible standards’ in their collaborations. London Irish noted that the decision to end that sponsorship agreement was made before an announcement was made about their new signings.

Jackson is just one of a string of high-profile recruits for ‘the Exiles’ as they bid to make their mark in England’s top tier next season. All Black wing Waisake Naholo, Ireland’s Sean O’Brien and Australian pair Nick Phipps and Sekope Kepu are all on the club’s inbound list after they won promotion from the Championship.

“We’ve got strict codes of conduct and obviously he’ll have to adhere to the same code of conduct,” London Irish CEO Brian Facer said of Jackson in an interview with the Irish Times last month.

“We’ll judge the man when he’s here and the way he conducts himself, but I’m fairly sure we’re comfortable with who he’ll be.” 

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Sean Farrell

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