World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officials are hopeful a meeting held with Russian authorities at the Moscow Laboratory today will pave the way to the country granting access to the data and samples stored at the facility.
The WADA delegation travelled to the Laboratory in the Russian capital, sealed off as part of a Federal investigation, for preliminary talks to gauge how exactly they will obtain access.
Russia must hand over the data and samples to WADA by the deadline of December 31 set by the global anti-doping organisation or risk having their suspension reimposed.
Depending on the outcome of the first meeting, a team expected to consist of five people, three "independent" WADA officials and two from Russia, will then be able to work on gathering the data and samples stored at the facility - which is key to determining sanctions against those involved in the state-sponsored doping scheme.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli told insidethegames at the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly here today that they hoped they could "agree on the practicalities of the second step, which is the experts going in and doing their job" at the meeting.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie revealed earlier this month that further talks regarding access to the laboratory could then be held early next month.
Niggli said the exact timeline could be put in place today, providing the meeting with the Russian authorities was a success.
It comes with the deadline set by WADA fast approaching and the anti-doping watchdog has insisted it will bring tougher sanctions on the nation if the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is declared non-compliant under stricter standards which came into effect earlier this year.
RUSADA's status will first be discussed by the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) at its meeting in in Montreal on January 14 and 15.
Their recommendation will then be put to the WADA Executive Committee, who will convene for a conference call when the CRC delivers its verdict.