Beckham tops Britains sports wealth league

LONDON - Former England soccer captain David Beckham's success on the field and appeal to sponsors have made him an estimated fortune of 160 million pounds (S$321.6 million) to put him top of the Sunday Times Sport Rich List published this weekend.

Beckham, now 37 and playing for LA Galaxy, is one of 48 soccer players past and present in the list of the 100 richest current and former sportsmen in Britain and Ireland.

London-born Beckham hopes to make the Team GB squad to play in the Olympics in his home city this summer.

The Sunday Times also ranked Beckham 10th in its list of the world's richest sports figures, a group led by golfer Tiger Woods with an estimated 538 million pounds.

Woods was followed by German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and former basketball player Michael Jordan.

Russian Maria Sharapova was the world's richest sportswoman, worth 55 million pounds. Sharapova, like Beckham, has augmented her earnings from sport with lucrative fashion and other endorsements.

No current British or Irish swimmer, cyclist or track and field athlete made the top 100, something that might change over the course of this Olympic year. There were no past or present sportswomen among the top 100 on the British and Irish list.

Not all the figures on the list are household names.

Behind Beckham in second spot was former rugby union player Paul Caddick, who now runs a property and construction company and is chairman of rugby league club Leeds Rhinos.

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