Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding 'deeply disappointed' after IRFU 'revoke' rugby contracts

Update 11.40am: The IRFU and Ulster Rugby have "revoked" the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

While Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25 were found not guilty last month after a high-profile trial, other aspects of their behaviour have been heavily criticised, with major sponsors of Ulster Rugby having voiced concern.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby review had focused on a series of sexually explicit WhatsApp conversations involving the players and their friends about the sexual encounter at the centre of the rape trial.

In a statement, the IRFU and Ulster Rugby said: "Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

"In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity.

"It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game."

Jackson expressed his disappointment.

In a statement to the Press Association he said: "I am deeply disappointed about the outcome of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby's internal review.

"However, I recognise that my behaviour has fallen far short of the values expected of me as an international player, a role model for the game of rugby and as a son and a brother. I am truly sorry.

Since I was a young boy it was my ambition to play for Ulster and Ireland and I am extremely proud, privileged and honoured to have done so. It is therefore with great sadness and regret but with many cherished memories that I leave that behind.

"I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this process. I have taken great strength from that support. I'd also like to thank Ulster and Irish rugby for the opportunities that they provided for me and I wish them, and all my former team mates, every success.

"My focus in the months and years ahead will be on rebuilding the trust placed in me by people throughout Ulster and Ireland."

Paddy Jackson.

Stuart Olding also issued a statement expressing his regret.

It said: "It is with regret that I have been informed that the IRFU have decided to revoke my contract.

"As I said outside court following my acquittal, I am and will always be fiercely proud of having played for my province and country.

"I very much wished to continue to have the opportunity to represent them.

"Regrettably, influences outside of my contractual arrangement have made it impossible for that to happen.

"I said outside court that the Stuart Olding that you read about in the trial is not the real Stuart Olding.

The treatment that I have received since my acquittal, both fair and unfair, has made me even more determined to prove myself.

"With the support of my family and friends I shall seek new challenges elsewhere. I bear no one any ill will.

"I am very sorry that this day has come to pass.

"To those who have supported me through these last 20 months and especially the fans who continue to support me, I thank you all."

Stuart Olding.

Fellow Ireland and Ulster star Craig Gilroy, who was not involved in the trial, has been disciplined for sending one of the offensive messages that was outlined to the court.

He had already been made unavailable for selection and will now face a further two-week suspension

A statement from the governing bodies said: "Following a review of a text message sent by Craig Gilroy, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have sanctioned him, following a disciplinary process in accordance with the terms of his contract.

"Craig will be unavailable for team selection until 26 April 2018."

Earlier: Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have contracts 'revoked' with immediate effect, IRFU confirm

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby have "revoked" the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

It follows an internal review which was called after the pair were acquitted of the rape of a 19-year-old girl last month.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding playing for Ulster.

In a statement, Ulster Rugby and the IRFU said:

"Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

"In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity.

"It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game."

It has also been confirmed that Ulster winger Craig Gilroy has been sanctioned following a review of a text message in connection with the alleged incident in 2016 and will be unavailable for team selection until April 26.

Ulster winger Craig Gilroy.

This is a breaking news story, more as we get it...

- Digital Desk


Related Articles

Bill for rugby rape trial exceeds £500k (€562k)

Fans ‘Stand Up’ for Jackson as he debuts for Perpignan

Review underway to make rape trial system fairer for victims

Belfast Crown Court to hear Paddy Jackson's attempt to recover legal costs

More in this Section

HSE reports rise in uptake of HPV vaccine

Peter Casey secures third nomination for presidency

Body cameras for gardaí among recommendations in future of policing report

Social Democrats support occupation movement and call for nationwide freeze on rents


More From The Irish Examiner