A combined hearing for Russian athletes sanctioned for doping at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi is set to take place the week beginning January 22, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) revealed today after confirming 42 competitors had officially filed an appeal.
In a statement, the CAS said they are expecting a final decision for each case to be issued "on or before" January 31, just nine days prior to the the start of this year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 9.
This is despite the sport entries deadline for Pyeongchang 2018 falling on January 28.
Maxim Belugin, part of the two and four-man teams which finished fourth at Sochi 2014, appears to be the only sanctioned athlete to not have filed an appeal.
The 43 Russians have been banned from the Olympic Games for life and retrospectively disqualified from Sochi 2014 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for their involvement in doping and sample tampering at their home Games.
They were among 46 initially investigated by an IOC Commission, chaired by Executive Board member Denis Oswald.
Three athletes - Olympic figure skating champion Adelina Sotnikova, ice hockey player Anna Shokhina and speed skater Denis Yuskov - were cleared of wrongdoing by the Commission.
"A CAS arbitration procedure has been opened for each athlete," the CAS statement revealed.
"The procedures are being conducted jointly and a combined hearing is likely to take place in the week of 22 January 2018.
"At the moment, it is expected that the CAS will issue a final decision for each case on or before 31 January 2018."
The combined hearing raises the possibility that a decision will be made on all 43 athletes collectively rather than individually.
Governing bodies such as the International Ski Federation have used reasoned decisions on one athlete to sanction the others involved in their sport.
Most of the evidence revealed by the Oswald Commission is similar for each implicated competitor.
It is still not clear whether former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov turned whistleblower will appear at the hearing.
It had been claimed Rodchenkov, who is in witness protection in the United States after he fled Russia following his revelations about the country's doping programme, would attend.
Rodchenkov did not provide in-person testimony to the Oswald Commission but instead sent written affadavits, which were also given to the Schmid Commission.
His evidence helped form the decision of the IOC to force Russia to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 as neutrals under an "Olympic Athletes from Russia" banner.
A panel has been set up to decide which Russian athletes can compete at the Games.