Russia lambasts 'stupid' CAS decision to stop athletes replacing anthem with folk song

·1 min read
Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov arrives for a news conference following a meeting on the country's participation at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to stop Russian athletes from playing patriotic folk song "Katyusha" at international sporting events is stupid, TASS cited the former head of Russia's Olympic Committee as saying on Saturday.

Russian athletes in January proposed playing "Katyusha", a song that gained huge popularity during World War Two, while the national anthem and flag are banned for the next two years over widespread doping violations. "Katyusha" is short for the girl's name "Ekaterina".

"The CAS panel considers that 'any anthem linked to Russia' extends to any song associated with, or with links to, Russia, which would include 'Katyusha'," CAS said in a statement carried by Olympics news website insidethegames on Friday.

CAS did not immediately respond to a Reuters request to confirm the statement's authenticity.

"I can call this CAS decision stupid. I have nothing more to add," TASS cited Alexander Zhukov, now a member of the lower house of parliament, as saying on Saturday.

CAS, which is based in Switzerland, in December upheld a ruling which barred Russian athletes from competing at major international events, including the Olympics, under the country's flag until 2022.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Hugh Lawson)