MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) _ Track and field's governing body decided today that the controversial drug cases involving Olympic gold medalists Linford Christie of Britain and Javier Sotomayor of Cuba should go to arbitration.

Both athletes face bans of up to two years by the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

Christie, the 1992 Olympic champion at 100 meters, and Sotomayor, the 1992 high jump gold medalist, failed drug tests but denied the charges and were subsequently cleared by their national federations.

Christie tested positive for the drug Nandrolone at an indoor meet in February. UK Athletics, Britain's governing body, cleared Christie, but the IAAF overturned that ruling.

Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine before the Pan American Games during the summer. Backed by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the country's track federation refused to suspend Sotomayor, claiming that the high jump world record-holder was the victim of a political conspiracy.