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Sponsor’s decision to part ways with club not related to Paddy Jackson’s signing, insists London Irish

Paddy Jackson will join London Irish from Perpignan
Paddy Jackson will join London Irish from Perpignan
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

London Irish Rugby Football club has said Cash Converters' decision to discontinue its association with the club 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 the club.

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 before the new campaign.

Jackson, 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 Irish Rugby Football Union tore up the contracts of both players due to messages exchanged with two other defendants over text and social media, which came to light during the court case.

Replying to a tweet that referenced those messages, Cash Converters confirmed it will not continue its 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.

"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 last year, with the company logo appearing on the sleeve and back of 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, had 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 reopening old wounds that have caused 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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