By Reuters Staff

FILE PHOTO: Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov arrives for a news conference following a meeting in Moscow, Russia December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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 Russias 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 girls 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 statements 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 countrys flag until 2022.