(Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) formally asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday to rule on Russia’s four-year ban for doping, after the agency handed down the punishment for manipulating laboratory data.

The move was expected after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) sent a letter to WADA last month formally disputing the punishment, which bars Russia from competing in the next summer and winter Olympics.

Only athletes who can prove they are clean competitors would be permitted to compete under the ban, and would have to do so as so-called “neutral” athletes.

The final decision in the punishment now rests with CAS, whose ruling on the matter would be binding.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond)

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