The Kremlin voiced regret Friday about the ruling that banned Russia from using its name, flag and anthem at the next two Olympics, but emphasised that the verdict would still allow the country’s athletes to compete.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport halved a proposed four-year ban to two years and left Russia in full control of its roster while also scrapping a plan to exclude athletes suspected of benefiting from past doping cover-ups.

Olympic rings

Olympic ringsCredit:AP

Russian sports officials were elated about the ruling because the new restrictions will be weaker than before.

“Of course, we regret this decision, and, of course, our attitude to it is negative,” Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, said in a conference call. “But, at the same time, as our senior sports officials have already noted, the most important thing is that athletes get the right to take part in international competitions, which will help them maintain their international qualifications and remain in good shape.”

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