Eric Bristow sorry for football abuse 'wimps' comment after Sky Sports sacking

Former darts world champion Eric Bristow has told ITV News he is sorry for saying footballers are "wimps" after a number of former professionals revealed they were sexually abused as youth players.

The five-time champion was sacked from his commentary role with Sky Sports after he posted a series of controversial tweets - which he has since deleted - amid football's abuse scandal.

Bristow said darts players were "tough guys" and that the "football lads" should have "sorted out" their abusers as adults.

The 59-year-old, speaking briefly to ITV News reporter Ben Chapman this morning, said his tweets were an attempt to get children to speak out about their abuse.

"The whole idea was to try and get young kids to say they're getting abused ... not 30 years later," Bristow said.

"Look if one young kid stands up after what I've just said and it stops him getting abused then I'm quite happy with that."

Eric Bristow, affectionately known as the Crafty Cockney, dominated darts in the 1980s. Credit: PA

Asked about his claim that footballers were wimps, he said: "It wasn't meant as wimps wimps."

He later added: "I'm sorry I said the wimp word. It wasn't meant to be that way."

Among the deleted Twitter posts, Bristow had said: "When the football lads got older and fitter they should have went back and sorted (their abuser) out."

Bristow denied he was condoning assault when asked by Chapman if his tweet was a call for people to beat up their abusers.

"I didn't say that at all," he said. "I said they should sort things out. You can sort it out with the law, can't you? You don't have to beat them up, do you?"

At least eight police forces are investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse in football, while more than 20 former players have come forward to make allegations.

Bristow later issued a statement further addressing his comments after an interview with ITV's Good Morning Britain (GMB).