The Court of Arbitration for Sport will pursue a fast-tracked process, giving any successful applicants the chance to compete in Rio

Russian athletes hoping to compete at the Rio Olympics will have their fate decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the body confirmed that it will make a decision on the IAAF’s suspension of the country’s athletes by July 21.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), IAAF and 68 Russian athletes who have filed appeals to CAS agreed upon an “expedited procedure” meaning, provided the appeal be successful, the timeframe would allow Russian athletes the chance to compete in the Rio Games next month.

The ROC and the 68 athletes have lodged a joint appeal requesting that CAS reviews the “validity, enforceability and scope” of IAAF rule 22.1 regarding an athlete’s eligibility under the ban of their national federation.

“The ROC, IAAF and 68 Russian athletes have concluded a specific arbitration agreement to designate the CAS as the final instance to settle the dispute between the ROC and the IAAF concerning the participation of 68 Russian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 (athletics events),” a CAS statement read.

The IAAF ruled against lifting the Russian Athletics Federation’s (RusAF) suspension on June 17 after an IAAF taskforce headed by Norwegian anti-doping expert Rune Andersen determined the “deep-seated culture of tolerance (or worse) for doping that led to RusAF being suspended in the first place appears not to have changed materially to date.”

Participation as a “neutral” athlete has been offered as a possibility to Russians who can prove they are “demonstrably clean” and untainted by the country’s doping regime.

On Friday, the IAAF announced that Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova would be eligible to compete in Rio under neutrality as a consequence of her “exceptional contribution” to the anti-doping cause.

Both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee offered their backing to the IAAF’s decision to uphold the blanket ban last month.