Darts star Eric Bristow criticised for 'offensive' and 'homophobic' tweets about football sex abuse victims

Darts champion Eric Bristow has faced criticism for a series of offensive tweets about the ongoing football sex abuse scandal.

Bristow, 59, branded footballers who were victims of abuse "wimps", and suggested they should have gone back and "sorted out" former youth football coach Barry Bennell when they were "older and fitter".

In a series of rambling tweets, the five-time world champion also used homophobic language and linked homosexuality with paedophilia, prompting the ire of social media users.

Bristow, who appeared in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! in 2012, added: "Trouble is nowadays u can't tell the truth."

His comments were fiercely criticised by Steve Walters, one of the former footballers who has spoken out about being abused by Bennell, an ex-coach for Crewe and a convicted paedophile.

Walters tweeted that he was "disgusted" with Bristow's comments, while Irish former footballer Steve Heighway said: "Paedos are not gay...they are sexual predators who will attack anyone vulnerable. They didn't talk because of the shame of it."

BBC presenter Jeremy Vine also tweeted criticism directed at Bristow:

Several other social media users also took to Twitter to express their anger at Bristow's comments.

Bennell, who is at the centre of an abuse scandal that has rocked the footballing world, was taken to hospital on Friday after being found unconscious at a house in Stevenage.

More than 20 former football players have come forward with allegations of historical sex abuse against the former coach.

Bennell 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.