CAS to rule on Olympic doping rule in September

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has set a September target to rule on the legality of an International Olympic Committee anti-doping rule that bars LaShawn Merritt from the 2012 London Games.

Sports' highest court said Wednesday that it will hear the "Six Month Rule" dispute between the United States Olympic Committee and the IOC on Aug. 17.

"A final decision in this matter is likely to be issued at the end of September," CAS said in a statement.

The two Olympic bodies had asked CAS for clarity and a binding verdict before team selection begins.

Introduced several weeks before the 2008 Beijing Games, the IOC rule bars athletes who receive doping bans of more than six months from competing at the next Summer or Winter Games.

The CAS ruling will determine whether Merritt can defend his 400-meter title in London.

The American's 21-month ban for testing positive for a banned substance found in a male-enhancement product expires in July, but he is ineligible for Olympic selection.

The court has invited third parties to submit their views on the case for consideration.

Those wanting the rule scrapped are required to petition the USOC by June 15, and supporters of the IOC's position have until July 13 to deliver a brief.

The rule has been criticized as a second penalty that does not withstand legal scrutiny. The IOC believes it is an eligibility rule, not a sanction, and that the Olympic body should be free to decide who can participate in its event.