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Paddy Whiskey ‘reviewing’ London Irish deal after controversial signing

Irish drinks brand Paddy Whiskey has confirmed it is “reviewing” its partnership with Premiership rugby club London Irish, following its controversial signing of former Ireland international Paddy Jackson.

The news comes after Diageo, the parent company of Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, terminated its near 30-year partnership with the club last week.

Jackson was signed from Top 14 side Perpignan in May this year. Diageo publicly criticised the club for allowing Jackson to join, and terminated its partnership on Thursday last week.

As quoted in The Guardian, a Diageo spokesperson 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.”

In July 2017, Jackson and former Ulster team-mate Stuart Olding were accused of rape and sexual assault at a Belfast after-party in 2016.

Both players were found not guilty in March last year, but during the trial, a series of offensive WhatsApp messages between the two players was revealed to the jury, allegedly containing derogatory references to women.

After vocal pressure from women’s rights groups, Jackson’s contract was terminated by the Irish Rugby Football Union within days of the verdict. He then moved to France where he joined Top14 side Perpignan.

Another London Irish sponsor, Cash Converters, announced in June that it too would be ending its partnership with the club, but denied that its decision was related to Jackson’s singing.