July 08, 2016

MONACO (AP) The IAAF ethics panel rejected appeals by three senior Kenyan athletics officials who were challenging the extension of their suspensions for another six months while they are investigated for corruption.

Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat, vice president David Okeyo, and former treasurer Joseph Kinyua remain suspended for 180 days from May 20, the ethics panel said in a decision published on Friday.

All three men are accused of diverting more than $700,000 of sponsorship money paid to AK by Nike for their personal benefit, and attempting to extort money out of athletes in return for concealing positive doping tests.

Kiplagat, a former member of the IAAF governing council, also faces allegations he accepted cars as gifts from the Qatar Athletics Federation in 2014, when Qatar was bidding to host the 2019 world championships. Doha, Qatar won the right to host the 2019 worlds in a November 2014 vote.

Upholding the new 180-day suspensions, the ethics panel said ''the potential for damage to the sport'' was ''clear'' if the three were allowed to return to an active role in athletics while they were being investigated. Okeyo is a current member of the IAAF's council.

The three were first suspended in November last year while Sharad Rao, the IAAF independent investigator in Kenya, looked into the allegations. Rao has yet to complete his investigation, leading to their suspensions being extended.

In their appeals, Kiplagat, Okeyo, and Kinyua complained about the length of the investigation, and said they have been prejudiced by media reporting of their cases. Kiplagat also claimed the investigation has affected his health.

A fourth official, AK chief executive Isaac Mwangi, was also suspended by the IAAF and is under investigation in a separate case after two Kenyan athletes said in an interview with The Associated Press that he asked them each for a $24,000 bribe to reduce their doping bans.

An appeal by Mwangi against his suspension was dismissed by the IAAF in April.

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