A former international Irish rugby player has caused controversy by claiming that gay people have “very little” interest in sport.

Neil Francis took to Newstalk’s ‘Off the Ball’ yesterday to make the claims.

Presenter Joe Molloy asked if he believed that the percentage of gay people involved in sport was less than the 10% of the overall population estimated to be gay.

Francis responded to say he thought the percentage was “nowhere near 10%. I would say in the smaller margin of 1%.”

He went on to say: “What are their interests? I mean, If you’ve ever sat down with, you know, homosexual people, and asked them what their interests are, very often they have no interest in any kind of sport. That’s my experience from sitting down with them; I’ve done it on a regular basis.”

Going on, Francis said: “It’s not a generalisation – that, you know, in every sphere of life. . . you meet either a gay man or gay people in a social environment… and my, my, the way I look at, you know, sort of, after talking to them, they have very little interest in sport. Very little.”

“By its very nature”, sport was not something gay people would be interested in, he said, continuing that personally he does not “have an interest in ballet”.

Accepting that he would probably be criticised for the remarks, he said: “I’m here. I’m going to express an opinion.”

On the situation for LGBT people in Russia, specifically at the Sochi Winter Olympics, he said he was “sick and tired of, y’know, sort of picking up, y’know angles on whether the Russians have an anti-gay policy or not. It’s about the Olympics or not, and the side issue has just put me off.”