Diageo end 27-year Guinness sponsorship of London Irish over Paddy Jackson signing

THE OWNERS OF the Guinness brand, Diageo, have today confirmed they are withdrawing their sponsorship of rugby club London Irish.

The English Premiership club and the drinks brand have had a sponsorship relationship since 1992.

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However, this week Diageo raised ‘serious concerns’ over the club’s recruitment of former Ulster out-half Paddy Jackson ahead of next season. And after meeting with the club, today Diageo confirmed that their deal with London Irish has now run its course.

“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 said in a statement.

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

However, a review by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby resulted in the revoking of both players’ contracts and both had been plying their trade in France until Jackson was among a list of internationals recruited by London Irish after they won promotion from England’s second tier back to the Premiership.

Last week, Cash Converters ended their sponsorship agreement with the ‘Exiles’, 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.

While Guinness was the longest-standing sponsor of London Irish, waste management company Powerday are the club’s primary shirt sponsor on their matchday jerseys.

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