LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ The Court of Arbitration for Sport has decided that world swimming's governing body was within its rights to approve full-length bodysuits for the Olympic Games.

In an advisory opinion issued at the request of the Australian Olympic Committee, CAS said approval of the suits _ which have been shown to improve swimmers' times _ was ``validly granted'' by FINA.

The written opinion, by Canadian barrister Richard McLaren, said it would be up to FINA to take the responsibility for its decision to admit the bodysuits.

The launch of the neck-to-ankle bodysuits split Australian swimming ranks earlier this year despite the fact the swimsuits were sanctioned by FINA last October.

The Australian committee applied to CAS for clarification to ensure the bodysuits conformed to FINA rules prohibiting any device that may aid a swimmer's speed, buoyancy or endurance.

It said it wanted to avoid possible legal challenges against performances of swimmers using the bodysuits by beaten rivals who wore conventional brief swimsuits.

Bodysuits were used by many swimmers during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and FINA president Mustapha Larfaoui said he could see ``no reason for the AOC to challenge a decision by FINA based on rules adopted by the FINA congress.''

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said today he was dissatisfied with Coates' report.

Coates said McLaren failed to address the AOC's major concern about the new technology becoming the subject of legal action if swimmers wearing regular swimsuits believed the bodysuit gave rivals an unfair advantage.

The Australian Olympic swimming trials are scheduled May 13-20, and Coates said the AOC would delay naming the Olympic swimming team until May 22 to allow a 48-hour appeals period for swimmers contesting the selection trials.

The risk of protests has been reduced because all leading candidates have been offered a bodysuit to wear at the trials, but the threat of legal action from disgruntled competitors still exists, Coates said.