The charity Alcohol Concern has criticised the former England football captain David Beckham for his decision to promote a whisky brand in partnership with the drinks company Diageo and TV producer Simon Fuller.
Diageo said that Beckham would play a "fundamental" role in developing the new Haig Club whisky brand, which was launched yesterday.
It said Beckham would also lead a responsible drinking programme for the whisky later this year.
But Alcohol Concern said that the father of four was sending a "confusing message" to children by being associated with the brand and called for him to pull out of the campaign.
Emily Robinson, deputy chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said in a statement: "It’s incredibly disappointing that David Beckham, a global icon who has wide appeal to children, has chosen to use his sports star image to promote spirits.
"Given David Beckham’s other roles promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle to children, we believe this will send a confusing message to them about the dangers of alcohol and its impact on a healthy lifestyle. We call on the star to rethink his association with this product."
Diageo responded to the criticism in a statement, saying: "Diageo and David Beckham take our responsibility in this area very seriously. As well as abiding by all laws and industry codes, Diageo has our own, very stringent guidelines on responsible marketing of our brands."