The international sports tribunal on Thursday rejected an appeal by Russian athletes against a Rio Olympics ban amid mounting pressure for action over state-run doping in Russia.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling on track and field is seen as a key indicator as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) debates whether to order a blanket ban on Russia from the Rio Games that start August 5.
The IOC executive is to hold more talks on Sunday and a decision on a ban could be announced after, an Olympic spokesperson said.
Russia reacted angrily however. It is a sporting powerhouse whose absence from Rio would create the biggest crisis in decades for the Olympic movement.
But there have been widespread calls for exemplary sanctions against the state-orchestrated campaign.
“This will scare a lot of people, or send a strong message that the sport is serious about cleaning up,” six-time Olympic sprint title winner Usain Bolt of Jamaica said of the CAS ruling.
Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko called the CAS ruling “politicised” and illegal however.