Friday 18 October 2019

London Irish claim sponsor's decision to part ways not related to Paddy Jackson signing

Paddy Jackson
Paddy Jackson

Gareth Hanna

London Irish has said the decision to part ways with sponsor Cash Converters was not related to the signing of former Ulster star Paddy Jackson.

It comes after the company responded to a number of tweets about the club's decision to sign the ex-Ireland international saying it had decided after a thorough review to discontinue its association with London Irish.

London Irish announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the firm in September 2018.

"The club would like to clarify that the decision to part ways at the end of 2018/19 season was made before the announcement of player signings in May 2019, and for reasons unrelated to player signings," a club statement read.

The fly-half played for French side Perpignan last season but London Irish announced in May he would join the newly-promoted side ahead of the new campaign.

Jackson, along with then Ulster and Ireland team-mate Stuart Olding, was found not guilty of rape at a trial in Belfast in 2018. The Irish Rugby Football Union tore up both players' contracts due to messages that they exchanged with two other defendants over text and social media, which came to light as part of the court case.

Replying to a tweet that referenced those messages, Cash Converters confirmed they will not continue their association with London Irish.

"As a company, we are committed to the highest possible standards when it comes to our investments in any sponsorships and collaborations," read the tweet.

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"As a result of a detailed and thorough review of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club."

London Irish announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Cash Converters in September 2018, with the company logo to appear on both the sleeve and the back of the home and away jerseys.

"A partnership like this is important for us as we build London Irish to be a club for the future,” Brian Facer, CEO at London Irish, said when the deal was announced. "We're looking forward to developing a strong relationship with the Cash Converters team.”

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

When Ulster Rugby's new CEO Jonny Petrie spoke to the press in February, he effectively closed the door on a return to the club for either Jackson or Olding.

"I've been brought here to move this place forward, and to do that I don't see that we should be re-opening old wounds that have caused such division within the sport and across society," he said. "We want to draw a line in the sand and make this place about the rugby. We need to move this club forward."

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