Football sex abuse: Eric Bristow criticised for suggesting victims not 'proper men'

Eric Bristow
Eric Bristow has been criticised for his comments on the football sex abuse scandal
Warning: The following article contains language that readers may find offensive

Former darts world champion Eric Bristow has suggested football abuse victims are not "proper men" - and has been criticised on social media.

More than 20 ex-footballers have come forward with allegations of historical child sex abuse in the sport, and five police forces are investigating claims.

But Bristow, 59, questioned why they did not "sort out" their abusers "when they got older and fitter".

One of the ex-players, Steve Walters, was "disgusted"external-link by Bristow's remarks.

Writing on Twitter, Bristow, who was made an MBE in 1989, said darts players were "tough guys" and footballers "wimps".

He added the victims should not be able to look themselves in the mirror for not "getting their own back" on their abusers in adulthood.

Several former footballers have waived their right to anonymity in order to go public and raise awareness of alleged historical abuse in football, a step which has won praise from politicians, sport administrators and abuse charities.

Walters has alleged he was abused as a youth player by convicted paedophile and former Crewe coach Barry Bennell.

In other tweets later deleted, Bristow said he "would have went back and sorted that poof out" - before later clarifying he "meant paedophile not poof".

What's happened so far?

Victoria spoke to (L-R) Jason Dunford, Steve Walters, Chris Unsworth and Andy Woodward

Former Crewe player Andy Woodward was the first to speak out about the abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of Bennell.

Ex-Crewe youth team players Walters, Chris Unsworth and Jason Dunford later told BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme they had also been abused by the former coach.

Ex-England and Manchester City striker David White also says he is another victim of Bennell, while former Tottenham, Liverpool and England midfielder Paul Stewart also waived his right to anonymity to speak publicly about being sexually abused by an unnamed coach.

Stewart said the sport could face allegations on the scale of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Bennell, who also worked for Manchester City, Stoke and junior teams in north-west England and the Midlands, was given a four-year sentence for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida in 1994 and a nine-year sentence in 1998 for 23 offences against six boys in England.

He was jailed for a third time in 2015 after admitting abusing a boy at a 1980 football camp in Macclesfield.

On Monday, it emerged that Bennell had been taken to hospital after being found unconscious at an address in Stevenage on Friday.