REUTERS: President of the UAE Athletics Federation Ahmad Al Kamali has been suspended for six months and fined 5,000 euros (US$6,080) for gifting watches to delegates in an attempt to win votes, the World Athletics ethics board said on Tuesday.
The Athletics Integrity Unit had provisionally suspended Al Kamali from any athletics-related activities last October, preventing him from standing in election for the vice president's role at World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
World Athletics said in a statement that Al Kamali was alleged to have gifted Rolex and/or UAE branded Continental watches to delegates at the Confederation of African Athletics Congress in 2015 while he was a member of the IAAF Council.
Al Kamali admitted giving watches to the delegates but said the retail value of the gifts did not exceed US$40 to US$50.
"Mr Al Kamali has been found to have violated the Code of Ethics by his conduct... in giving gifts of more than nominal value and failing to act with dignity and respect for his opponents as a candidate for IAAF office," World Athletics said in a statement.
"The purpose of the prohibition on giving valuable gifts is to maintain the integrity and impartiality of IAAF officials and of the IAAF as an institution...
"Accordingly, the Panel considers it appropriate to impose a 6 month ban upon Mr Al Kamali from taking part in any athletics-related activity including holding any relevant office in athletics (whether at national, regional or world level)."
Al Kamali has three weeks to appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
(US$1 = 0.8223 euros)
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)