April 14, 2018 / 10:45 AM / a year ago

Irish rugby union revokes contracts of players acquitted of rape

BELFAST (Reuters) - Irish rugby’s governing body has revoked the contracts of two internationals acquitted of rape, citing “the core values of the game”, after a trial exposed their use of degrading language towards the woman who accused them.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said in a statement both the national organisation and the Ulster Rugby club had rescinded the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25, were found not guilty last month of raping the woman in Jackson’s home in the early hours of June 28, 2016.

But an eight-week trial led to widespread criticism of their behaviour towards women and calls for them to be permanently dropped from the Ireland team.

Jackson said in a statement on Saturday he was “deeply disappointed” about the outcome of the IRFU review.

But he added that he was “truly sorry” his behaviour had fallen “far short of the values” expected of him as an international player.

Olding said in a statement he regretted the decision by the IRFU, describing his treatment since the acquittal as “both fair and unfair.” On the day of the acquittal he said he was sorry for the hurt caused to the complainant.

The IRFU also suspended Irish national player Craig Gilroy until April 26 following a review of a text message he sent.

Additional reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jason Neely and Helen Popper

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