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Saturday, 9 March, 2002, 01:37 GMT
Beckham caught in 'cola wars'
Beckham lines up opposite a sumo wrestler in a forthcoming Pepsi advertisement
Beckham is in promotional material for Pepsi....
England football captain David Beckham is at the centre of a "cola war" between the world's leading manufacturers of the soft drink, it has been reported.

The Manchester United midfielder has been made the star of Coca-Cola's World Cup advertising campaign.

But he is also featuring in a World Cup-based campaign for rival Pepsi - who pay him an estimated 1m a year to advertise their product.

Coca-Cola is able to use the 26-year-old footballer, despite his contract to market Pepsi, because of its multi-million pound sponsorship of the England football team, said The Sun.

Special-edition bottle of Coca-Cola for the 2002 World Cup
...and for rival Coca-Cola
Andrew Coker, of Coca-Cola, told the newspaper it was "marvellous" to be able to feature Beckham on the special-edition bottle.

"We talked about various promotional activities with the FA and this was agreed on," he said.

It is understood that Coca-Cola is able to use the England captain as long as two other players are featured.

So the new Coca-Cola bottles, which promote this summer's competition in Japan and South Korea, will also feature Beckham's Old Trafford team-mate Paul Scholes and Liverpool youngster Steven Gerrard.

Britney ad

Pepsi, whose latest advert depicts Beckham taking on a team of Japanese sumo wrestlers, said it would be making legal checks about the development.

The Pepsi ads bring together 11 football stars including Brazil's Rivaldo, France's Emmanuel Petit and Italy's Gianluigi Buffon.

They take on a Sumo team with a collective weight of 2.3 tonnes and surprising footwork skills for the prize of a fridge full of the soft drink.

Both the Coca-Cola and the Pepsi advertising campaigns will be launched in May.

Beckham is also expected to feature on Pepsi packs, and to appear with pop star Britney Spears in a special World Cup commercial.

See also:

06 Mar 02 | England
'Beckham and eggs' back on menu
27 Feb 02 | UK
Beckham's god-like status
21 Feb 02 | Business
Beckham in talks to promote M&S
14 Nov 01 | UK
Becks - turning Japanese
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