Olympics: Sports court to rule on Russian athletes competing in Rio by July 21

LAUSANNE (AFP) - Athletics' governing body the IAAF and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) have agreed to let the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rule on whether Russian athletes can compete at the Rio Games, CAS said on Monday (July 4).

The ROC, the International Association of Athletics Federations and 68 Russian athletes have reached "a specific arbitration agreement" which lets CAS decide whether the IAAF's blanket ban of the entire Russian track and field team was valid, a CAS statement said.

"The parties have agreed to an expedited procedure which should conclude on 21 July 2016," it added.

The IAAF ban followed revelations of massive, state-sponsored doping within Russia's track and field programme.

The International Olympic Committee gave full backing to the IAAF move, saying it was up to each sport's governing body to decide who can compete in Rio de Janeiro.

Last month, the IAAF said only individual Russian athletes who could definitively prove they were not tainted by the country's disgraced system would be cleared for the Games, which start on Aug 5.

CAS spokesman Katy Hogg told AFP that the court will not be making a case-by-case review of each athlete's record, but will be assessing the validity of the IAAF's decision to ban the entire federation.

Russian athletes and political leaders have voiced outrage that the IAAF was seeking to ban track and field stars with no positive drug tests on their record.

The ROC and the 68 athletes have specifically asked the Lausanne-based court to "order that any Russian athlete who is not currently the subject of any period of ineligibility for the commission of an anti-doping rule violation may participate at the 2016 Olympic Games", assuming they otherwise qualified.