Huge sponsor has dumped London Irish

Diageo, the owner of Guinness, has cancelled its sponsorship of London Irish due to the club’s decision to sign former Ulster and Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson, according to the Irish Times.

The newly-promoted Premiership club last month announced the signing of the ex-Ireland international, who, along with his then Ulster and Ireland team-mate Stuart Olding, was found not guilty of rape at a trial in Belfast in 2018.

The London Irish website says Guinness’s “proud sponsorship” of the club began in 1992. As the club’s longest standing sponsor, the website says Guinness is “truly a part of the London Irish family”.

However, in a statement submitted to The Irish Times, 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.”

Diageo said earlier this week it had “serious concerns” regarding the signing of Mr Jackson but did not at that time make any reference to its lucrative sponsorship deal with the club.

Jackson will be linking up with former Ulster coach Les Kiss and ex-Irish coach Declan Kidney at London Irish.

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