Rod Liddle

It’s not just the Russians – there is no morality in top-level sport

Let’s not forget that when we bid for the World Cup, we indulged in our own little bit of bribery too

14 November 2015

9:00 AM

14 November 2015

9:00 AM

Why do transgendered people need separate toilets? I thought, according to the prevalent orthodoxy, that the new gender they had acquired was every bit as authentic as the one they had jubilantly renounced. So a separate toilet is surely otiose. And not just that, but the suggestion that they might need a separate toilet for micturition through their surgically emended private parts is surely offensive. The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, may be in trouble, then, for announcing his intention to install these mysterious receptacles throughout the Palace of Westminster to service the hordes of transgendered workers wandering around with extravagant beehive hairdos and outsize stiletto heels. In trying to be more-PC-than-thou, he may in fact be committing the crime of cissexism, which is a very grave crime indeed.

Incidentally, if I am wrong, and transgendered folk really do require separate toilets, then won’t at least two be needed in each site, one for her/him and one for him/her? That is the problem; the world has become terribly confusing, but I suppose this shouldn’t persuade us that things were better in the past — which was nonetheless a more comforting place. Back then, men were men and women were women — apart from drag queens, who we all loved, and field-event competitors from the Soviet bloc. Gargantuan, grunting Bulgarian ladies heaving the discus 200 yards, Natasha from Petropavlovsk with her stubble and her steroids putting the shot and leaving our more fragrant babes in the shade. The commies always cheated in the Olympics — that was a given. And, furthermore, all foreigner competitors were on drugs. How the world has changed.

Today we are expected to affect surprise and outrage that the Russian government is involved in a gigantic subterfuge to ensure that its Olympic competitors in 2012 avoided being nobbled in drug tests. This had been the conclusion of a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), which observed that there was a ‘deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels’ in Russian athletics, and there were calls for the Russkies to be barred from taking part in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. However, the times having changed, our own pristine Sebastian Coe came in for stinging criticism too, in his role as President of the International Association of Athletics Federations. The IAAF had been utterly useless in rooting out the miscreants, ‘inexplicably lax’ and about as much use to the world as a transgendered bidet. (They didn’t actually say the last bit, I was sort of paraphrasing.)

Coe had previously described allegations of mass doping and cover-ups as being ‘a declaration of war’ against his organisation, and he did nothing about it. His ‘spiritual president’, as Seb referred to a ghastly Senegalese chap called Lamine Diack, the previous boss of the IAAF, was meanwhile arrested on charges of money-laundering. Not a good week for Seb, then.

And you are kidding yourself if you think it’s just the Russkies filling their athletes full of weird chemicals. Everyone seems to be up to it — yes, even us. Dozens of British sports stars have been censured for taking illegal substances.

Anyway, this Wada report was des-cribed as ‘sport’s darkest day’ by one of our daily newspapers and the story led all of the news bulletins, with exclamations of shock and outrage expressed by politicians, sports officials, people who run very fast etc. The darkest day? Maybe the darkest day for a month or so, since the ‘revelations’ that world football’s governing body was corrupt and rotten from top to bottom. Little more than a network of greedy and thick third-worlders pocketing bungs from the immoral, autocratic and arrogant delegates of the more affluent countries. All that televised voting business for the rights to stage the World Cup — a fix. Jeepers, who’da thunk it, etc. The magnificently repulsive boss of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, revealed that England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, on which we spent £20 million, was a complete waste of time and dosh because a deal had already been done to give it to Russia.

But our protests (and the demand for the return of our money) sounded hollow. We have all known, for at least 15 years, that Fifa was a thoroughly corrupt organisation. We have known it absolutely unequivocally since Fifa awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar: a slave state where it is impossible to play football in the summer months, when the World Cup is traditionally held. But at every juncture our own footballing authorities continued to connive with Fifa, most recently throwing their support behind Blatter’s ally and henchman, Michel Platini, in his bid to become the next Fifa president. Even a subsequent inquiry into Platini — he took a ‘payment’ of more than a million quid from Blatter, as part of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, whatever that’s supposed to mean — has yet to fully convince the FA and other domestic authorities that old Michel may not be the best bet to clean out the Augean stables of football’s governing body.

And of course, when trying to win those World Cup bids, we did our little bit of bribery too. We bought the wives of the delegates Mulberry handbags worth £230 each during that pointless bid for the 2018 World Cup. So we bribe, sure enough — we just don’t bribe enough. We should have withdrawn from Fifa a long time ago and maybe persuaded one or two like-minded countries to follow suit.

But there is no morality in sport at the highest level; certainly not from the administrators and not from a good many of the competitors, either. This has been the year that top sport was revealed as a corrupt racket. Now tell me something I didn’t know.

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Show comments
  • blandings

    “Why do transgendered people need separate toilets?”

    They don’t: You’re either a sitter or you’re a stander.
    All other considerations pale into insignificance in the light of this elemental truth.

    • ViolinSonaten b minor.

      Hmm, not quite sure why men need those ‘ standing areas’. Maybe its so they
      can compare bird perches. Why can’t they use the cubicles and put the seat up as they do at home ( always forgetting to put it down again– boys lids were created for
      a reason).

      • blandings

        “Hmm, not quite sure why men need those ‘ standing areas’.”
        Us men like to strut our stuff.

        “Maybe its so they can compare bird perches.”
        That’s a euphemism I hadn’t come across before – it resonates with me I can tell you.

        • Freddythreepwood

          Resonates with my parrot too!

          • red2black

            I have had quite a few birds settle on mine as well. (tee hee)

      • Liberanos

        On the other hand, it would be just as considerate for the woman of the house to leave the seat up, would it not?

    • jeremy Morfey

      You miss the point. There are three categories.

      You’re standing, sitting or lying.

    • Goinlike Billio

      The trouble is that they don,t know which orifice it is going to come out from

  • ViolinSonaten b minor.

    Not quite sure what additions male and female loos actually need. And encouraging the delusions of the sexually confused is foolish. At some point some one may create a
    half- human and half camel. and that’ll be very difficult to get into the cubicles > 🙂
    But to be honest, I try and avoid public loos but if I do I’d not want to see a hulking
    ‘ woman’ with Adam’s apple, budgie smugglers, and weaponized stiletto’s near my wash basin .

  • Dr Bock

    Let’s make sport an explicitly drugs-race-based activity, if everyone being clean is some unachievably naive ideal we can’t possibly aspire to, let’s have all the competitors drugged to the eyeballs, shrivelled gonads be-damned! Also, fun as the exposure of so many global and domestic institutions’ rum practices has been, has no one got the goods on the campaigning organisations who lobby so unremittingly to take our money and feather-nest themselves? Bad enough the Save the Children boss did an interview with How to Spend It in which he discussed how much he enjoys expensive restaurants and a box at Arsenal, but the self-appointed moral commissars of the charitable sector must surely have gotten up to all sorts of things when not outsourcing fund-raising to boiler room operations or driving guilt-addled pensioners to suicide.

    • ViolinSonaten b minor.

      Tennis needs to be mentioned ( there is other sport besides football, you know).
      A lot of these millionaire tennis players including Federer were moaning about wearing
      all white at Wimbledon because they couldn’t wear their sponsored token clothes.
      Why does everything need to be about money and grandstanding. Besides some of
      the mismatched clothes they wear on tour looks awful., Wawrinka forgets to remove his pyjama bottoms.

      • Dr Bock

        I don’t know, I fear a foul-mouthed, badly dressed tennis would be something I would incline to watch. 🙂

  • Tamerlane

    Why not just flip it around and have the steroid-Olympics? Sterolympics?! Pharmaceutical companies can compete to create the biggest human freak and we can marvel at sub 5 second 100m sprints and shot puts fired out the stadium by butch ladies from Leipzig and Ploiesti.

    A marvel to behold, I might actually watch it then.

    • Todd Unctious

      Funnily enough,I agree. Let them take a cocktail of drugs and see what happens. We can have Natural Olympics and a science enhanced one.

    • hedgemagnet

      Imagine the size of the the obituary columns too. Full to the brim with entries about medal winners dieing young due to heart or blood ‘complications’.

  • Sean Grainger

    Dear Mr Liddle, please may I refer to last week’s oeuvre and pray you weren’t slagging off my intended Caroline Flint? She is certainly the sexiest bird in the House if not the only sexy one. Until she foolishly got the devastating gap in her front teeth fixed there was no contest. Yes Stella Creasy is good-looking and Theresa puts Tory backbenchers into domination fantasies but hey. Those cold dead black eyes of hers flash with such intensity … Oh dear I think I had better lie down.

    • The_greyhound

      No one could deny that she is as fit as a butcher’s dog.

      • Clive

        Fit as a greengrocer’s rabbit. I’m vegan.

        …And she isn’t anyway, she does not look like fun.

      • Todd Unctious

        The saying is “Fat as a Butchers dog”. Butchers dogs eat too much.

  • blandings

    Can’t see the point of professional sport.
    Play games by all means, but don’t pay other people to do it for you

  • twi5ted

    Think the russian finger pointing somewhat undermined by their lack of success on the field. Probably just means they were not good enough cheaters unlike our lot that seem to keep missing blood tests.

  • Teacher

    It’s only sport….

    • Todd Unctious

      No. It is games. Olympic Games. Sport is a more serious business. Riding, shooting ,fishing, driving. Football is not sport, football is a game. Children do Games at school. Games are childish.

  • davidshort10

    Two columns in two weeks that disappoint.

  • Liberanos

    The fun thing about Rio will be that the spectators will probably be as high as the athletes.

  • Baron

    To try stop doping in sport (or drug taking amongst the unwashed for that matter) is about as doable as was trying to stop the Americans imbibing liquor.

    • red2black

      It must be all these breweries, distilleries and pharmaceutical companies that the feckless and indolent poor own that cause the problems that afflict the wealthy.

      • Baron

        Would it shock you to learn, red2black, you may be right, the ‘poor’ may indeed own the said companies not directly by via investment trusts, unit and pension funds. If you have savings of any sort yourself, even in a bank account, check it out, you may be one of them.

        • red2black

          You’re right. The money we all put in bank accounts and the like and is invested. It seems that most people lower down the social ladder either don’t know or don’t care, perhaps unfortunately, where their money goes. I remember there was quite a kerfuffle many years ago when it was made public that NUM’s money had been invested in South Africa.

  • Sean L

    Why shouldn’t they take supplements? One’s genetic disposition already confers an ‘unfair’ advantage, and it would then be a contest of brain as well as brawn. Athletes could be sponsored by Holland & Barrett, Glaxo, Pfizer etc. An equivalent of the arms race in drugs and nutritional supplements would ensue, to the benefit of all. Our civilisation is based on technologies whose origin is military, designed either to inflict death and destruction or as a defence against it. Similarly with sport, which is a kind of ritualised war anyway, the spin-offs, pharmacological and nutritional, ought to be no less beneficent, elixirs of youth, cures for cancer and so on, to say nothing of the enhanced entertainment value.

    • Clive

      I agree. Then the athletes will knowingly get doped instead of having to deny all knowledge of something slipped into their cocoa by a coach. No syringes trackside, though. Might hurt someone – or blow a tyre.

      I believe the next winter olympics are to be held in Acapulco.

      They might need a bit of performance enhancing to get the skis moving.

      • Goinlike Billio

        Will you allow women athletes with designer stubble ? There has to be some form of limitation on what is allowed.

        • Jethro Asquith

          Why not. In these enlightened times surely there should not be separate Women events – we are all the same you know (apparently). They expect the same prize money so they should compete against the men to prove their worth.

          • Goinlike Billio

            You are homophobe and cissexit. Only a complete redneck talks about men and women when everyone knows there are only LGBT (men) LGBT (women), BLT (sandwich),MGBGT and the other 22 subdivisions which you should have learnt about by now.

          • Jethro Asquith

            If you say so…

          • Todd Unctious

            Women compete against men in Equestrian events, mixed doubles tennis/badminton etc, yachting , motorsport ,horse racing.

    • 9sqn

      Why leave it at supplements. Oscar Pistorious single-handedly pioneered the use of foot-replacing springs to post very commendable 100 metre times.

      • Mr B J Mann

        He was missing a hand too?!?!?!!!!

  • red2black

    A few weeks ago a top woman cyclist claimed she couldn’t find the right gear, and that was during a race!

  • Nick

    One of the best and funny articles I have read by Rod Liddle.

    Well done Rod.

  • Itinerant

    ‘Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by The Spectator.’
    wonder why my last comment received this message- I’ll just post the link, has some interesting research into trans people from the chief at John Hopkins- make up your own minds.

    • Mr B J Mann


      Try again!!

      So now you can make up your own mind as well as your s=x?!?!?!!!!

  • Alexandrovich

    O/T I know but you should have a read of this Rod:
    Also you get a very honourable mention.

  • Neil Saunders

    They need separate toilets because this is not primarily about “equality” or “identity”, but about permanent revolution. These PC folk, under whatever pretext and in ostensible association with whichever of their pet causes of the moment, are keen to make demands that can never adequately be met.