A verdict on Russia's suspension is expected to be given by July 21 ©Getty Images

A Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing into Russian athletes hoping to overturn the suspension continued last month by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is due to reach a verdict by July 21, it has been confirmed today.

This follows a request to initiate a fast-track procedure in order to boost their chances of appearing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The appeal has been filed jointly between the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 athletes, CAS revealed,

An appeal will be heard on July 19 at the Lausanne-based court, with the verdict due within the next two days. 

"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)," today's statement added.

"The parties have agreed to an expedited procedure which should conclude on 21 July 2016 with the issuance of the final decision."

If the appeal is successful, the date should provide enough time for Russian athletes to be integrated, before the start of athletics competition on August 12.

The IAAF Council decided at its meeting in Vienna last month to continue the ban indefinitely due to a Russian failure to improve its testing levels to a necessary degree.

Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva is one Russian athlete pinning their hopes on the appeal to CAS ©Getty Images
Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva is one Russian athlete pinning their hopes on the appeal to CAS ©Getty Images

Only athletes who can prove they have been operating in an "effective testing system" will be considered, something that is thought to exclude all but one or two squad members based outside Russia.

The appeal to CAS is therefore their best hope, with their defence likely to argue that the IAAF verdict unfairly punished "clean" athletes who have not been directly implicated in a doping scandal.

The IAAF claim that the lack of effective testing means no Russian athlete can truly be considered "clean".

British firm Morgan Sports Law have been employed to represent Russia at CAS.

The London-based company, whose founding partner is Mike Morgan, has recently represented a number of clients against the IAAF at CAS.

The firm recently successfully led an appeal to CAS from Tatyana Andrianova against the IAAF and ARAF against a decision to strip her of the bronze medal she won in the 800 metres at the 2005 World Championships following a re-analysis of her urine sample which had shown traces of banned performance-enhancing drugs. 

They also successfully appealed to CAS on behalf of Belarus' Olympic hammer silver medallist Vadim Devyatovskiy to have a lifetime ban imposed by the IAAF from the sport lifted, despite him having been involved in several doping scandals during his career.