Alcohol branding is to be removed from children's replica sports kits as part of new marketing rules agreed by the drinks industry.

The restriction applies to sponsorship contracts signed after 1 January, 2008 and a child's size shirt will be defined by its VAT classification, according to industry watchdog the Portman Group.

Teams sponsored by alcohol companies include Everton, Liverpool, Celtic, Hibernian and Rangers football clubs, Derbyshire, Essex, Glamorgan, Kent, Lancashire, Surrey, Warwickshire and Worcestershire cricket clubs and a number of rugby clubs.

“There is no evidence to link this marketing with under-age drinking,” said David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group. “Even so, drinks companies are concerned about the negative perception caused by their logos appearing on children's shirts.”

“Despite producers having only ever been interested in marketing their drinks to adults, some critics see children in replica kit as walking billboards for alcohol,” he added.