LONDON – Coca-Cola will no longer use Wayne Rooney's image on cans and bottles following allegations over the English forward's private life.
Following newspaper allegations that he cheated on his then-pregnant wife with a prostitute, Coca-Cola announced Monday that it had stopped using his image to promote its Coke Zero drink.
"Last month we amended our marketing plans on Coke Zero," Coca-Cola said in a statement. "Given the situation at that time we did not feel it was appropriate to run an on-pack promotion featuring Wayne Rooney."
A year after a sex scandal that cost golfer Tiger Woods three major corporate sponsors worth millions of dollars, Coca-Cola said that it had not decided whether the move was permanent.
The world's largest soft drink maker added that it will continue to use the Manchester United player for other forms of promotion.
Rooney's contract with Coca-Cola is widely reported to be worth more than 500,000 pounds ($792,000) annually. The company has used the player to endorse the product since 2007.
Rooney has conceded that last month's allegations contributed to his poor start to the Premier League season with United.
Rooney has scored just once in six matches for United, which is third in the Premier League and trails defending champion Chelsea by five points.
United manager Alex Ferguson left Rooney out of last month's match against former club Everton following the allegations to avoid abuse by rival fans.