Coca-Cola has dropped Man United striker Rooney
Coca-Cola has permanently ended its relationship with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who was initially dropped from the soft drink company's ad campaigns following allegations over his private life.
The 25-year-old Rooney was the face of Coke Zero, with his image appearing on cans and bottles, until last September, when he reportedly 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 Wednesday in a statement.
After the allegations about Rooney's off-field antics last year, the world's largest soft drink maker responded by saying it was not ''appropriate'' to use the England international in promotions, but insisted that its ''relationship with Wayne Rooney is ongoing.''
That has ended.
''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, is facing a two-match ban for swearing into a television camera after scoring a hat trick during Saturday's Premier League win at West Ham.
But Rooney said the automatic two-match ban was ''clearly excessive'' and will appeal the sanction to the Football Association.
If Rooney's appeal fails, he would miss Saturday's league game against Fulham and the following week's FA Cup semifinal match against Manchester City.