Thursday 21 February 2019

'If you bring the game into disrepute, you can be punished' - Alan Quinlan on the future of Jackson and Olding

Paddy Jackson, right, and Stuart Olding
Paddy Jackson, right, and Stuart Olding Newsdesk Newsdesk

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby are currently deciding whether Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will return to play professional rugby in Ireland and Alan Quinlan is unsure whether the duo will see the field here next season.

Jackson and Olding were yesterday found not guilty of rape at a trial in Belfast, with the former also cleared of a sexual assault charge.

Out-half Jackson had established himself as Johnny Sexton's back-up before the charges were brought against him, while Olding had picked up four international caps before the pair were stood down from their playing duties while the case was resolved.

Now the question has become whether they will return to play for their province, and possibly their country, with the IRFU and Ulster yesterday releasing a joint-statement where they stated that the pair's future will now be evaluated.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, former Ireland international Alan Quinlan spoke about the complexity of the situation now facing both the players and their employers, and isn't sure if they will get back on the field in Ireland in the short-term.

"It is a question I've been asking myself," Quinlan said.

"It is a tricky situation, maybe because of the public reaction. The way it has played out in public has been wrong I think. That is definitely going to effect the guys going back if they want to play.

"The IRFU said they will have an internal review, which is fully understandable. They have acknowledged that the verdict was not guilty but certainly the question will be asked, were they in breach of contract? Did they bring the game into disrepute?

"There are clauses in any of the contracts I would have had, and I'm sure it is the exact same for anybody signing a contract now, that if you bring the game into disrepute, if you have any sort of breaches of your contract, you can be punished for that. I'm not sure what is going to happen here."

Quinlan was also asked whether sportspeople should have a duty to act as role models.

"The way the world is now, there is a lot more responsibility and attention on sportspeople when they are out and about," he said.

"The word role model has been mentioned a lot. For me it is about your behaviours. They have to be good, they have to be extra good at times because you have people coming up asking for autographs and photos and people look up to you. You have to remove yourself from those situations if you find them difficult."

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