What should Bank of Ireland do with their sponsorship of the Ulster Rugby team?

by

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

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