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Russian Olympic chief: ‘A folk song’ may replace Russia’s state anthem at Olympic Games

"We can play any music or melody, which may be connected directly or can be somehow associated with Russia," Stanislav Pozdnyakov said

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. A Russian folk song can be used instead of the Russian national anthem at Olympic Games, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Wednesday in an interview with Match TV sports channel.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on Thursday night to keep in force a number of sanctions against Russia for the period of up to two years. The decision of the Swiss-based court was made within the frames of a legal spat between RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency).

According to the CAS decision on December 17, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for the two-year period.

The national anthem of Russia was also ruled out to be played at international sport tournaments in the course of the next two years, including at the upcoming Olympic Games.

"It will be somehow a bit complicated with playing our [National] Anthem…, and we are limited…," Pozdnyakov said. "However, we can play any music or melody, which may be connected directly or can be somehow associated with Russia."

"As soon as we receive recommendations [from the International Olympic Committee], we will set up a council of artists, who will announce a competition for the melody," the ROC head added.

CAS decision on WADA-RUSADA dispute

The statement from CAS, published on the night of December 17, stated that "Russian Athletes/Athlete Support Personnel shall participate in a uniform to be approved by the relevant Signatory which shall not contain the flag of the Russian Federation (current or historical), or any national emblem or other national symbol of the Russian Federation."

Russia was also banned from officially playing its anthem, according to CAS verdict: "The Russian national anthem (or any anthem linked to Russia) shall not be officially played or sung at any official event venue or other area controlled by the Signatory or its appointed event organizer (including, without limitation, at medal ceremonies and opening/closing ceremonies).".