Coca-Cola drops Man United striker Rooney
Coca-Cola is no longer being endorsed by Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, who was initially dropped following allegations regarding his private life.
Rooney was the face of the Coke Zero drink, with his image appearing on cans and bottles until last September when reports emerged that he cheated on his then-pregnant wife with a prostitute.
''Our contract with Wayne Rooney came to an end last year and we mutually agreed that we would not renew our relationship,'' Coca-Cola said in a statement.
The Guardian newspaper reported that Coke was ''dismayed'' by the lurid allegations against Rooney when they surfaced in British tabloids. The world's largest soft drink maker responded at the time by responding that it was not ''appropriate'' to use the England international in promotions, but insisted that its ''relationship with Wayne Rooney is ongoing.''
''We wish Wayne well in his career,'' Coca-Cola said Wednesday. ''Our marketing plans have evolved to focus on our sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the upcoming launch of our plans for the Olympic Torch Relay.''
Rooney, who had endorsed Coke Zero since 2007, currently faces a ban of at least two matches. He acknowledged using offensive language when he swore into a television camera after scoring a hat trick during Saturday's Premier League win at West Ham.
But Rooney deemed the automatic two-match ban ''clearly excessive'' and The Football Association will hear his appeal against the severity of the punishment later Wednesday.
If Rooney's appeal fails, he risks further discipline in addition to his suspension for Saturday's league match against Fulham and the following week's FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City.