The International Amateur Athletic Federation's 22-member Executive Council voted unanimously yesterday in Madrid to change IAAF rules to allow the reinstatement of amateur status for U.S. hurdlers Renaldo Nehemiah and Willie Gault, who were banned after signing pro football contracts. Nehemiah plays for the San Francisco 49ers, and Gault for the Chicago Bears.

The rule change will have to be approved at the IAAF congress in Stuttgart, West Germany, in August, but that is considered a formality after this vote.

The move followed the recent endorsement by the International Olympic Committee and President Juan Antonio Samaranch of tennis and hockey professionals competing in the Games, subject to the approval of the governing bodies in their sport.

At the meeting, the Executive Council also imposed life bans on four athletes, including Duncan Attwood and August Wolf of the United States, on grounds they violated IAAF doping regulations.

An IAAF announcement said Attwood, a javelin thrower, had failed an anti-stimulant control at a meet in Koblenz, West Germany, on Aug. 28. Wolf, a shot-putter, was banned after refusing a test in Byrkjelo, Norway, on July 7, IAAF said.

The statement did not specify what drugs where used, although such tests are normally given for steroids. The other athletes banned were shot-putters Nicolaos Yendekos of Greece and Ahmed Kamiel Shata of Egypt. Both failed anti-stimulant tests.