David Okeyo has pledged to appeal his lifetime ban from athletics ©Getty Images

David Okeyo has pledged to appeal after being expelled as a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council and banned from the sport for life.

The Kenyan was found guilty by the governing body's Ethics Board of siphoning off funds from a sponsorship deal between Athletics Kenya (AK) and Nike.

Okeyo, the former secretary general and vice-president of AK, diverted thousands of dollars meant for the national governing body for his personal use, the IAAF said.

He was ruled to have committed 10 breaches of the IAAF's ethics code "over a long period of time" and has also been fined $50,000 (£38,000/€43,000).

In addition, he must foot a bill of $100,000 (£77,000/€86,000) in legal costs.

Okeyo has denied wrongdoing and hit back by calling his sanction "harsh".

"The judgment is very harsh and I have instructed my legal team to appeal," he said, as reported by Daily Nation.

"I maintain my innocence over this matter."

The IAAF Ethics Board said Okeyo's actions "deprived AK of income from its sponsor that could have been better directed to support the development of the sport of athletics in Kenya".

AK treasurer Joseph Kinyua was also investigated and was found to have "engaged in similar conduct".

David Okeyo was found to have siphoned off funds from a sponsorship deal between Nike and Athletics Kenya ©Getty Images
David Okeyo was found to have siphoned off funds from a sponsorship deal between Nike and Athletics Kenya ©Getty Images

But he has avoided any punishment as his position with the organisation was not bound by ethics rules at the time.

Okeyo and Kinyua were suspended by the Ethics Board in November 2015 following the emergence of the accusations that they had taken money meant for AK for private gain from a sponsorship deal with the American sportswear giant.

They then failed with appeals launched in an attempt to overturn the extension to their provisional suspensions.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is now a potential route for the Kenyan.

Last year, the IAAF replaced Okeyo, who remained suspended at the time, with Mauritius Athletics Association President Vivian Gungaram on its ruling Council.

Okeyo is still facing further sanctions from the Ethics Board relating to seperate allegations that he attempted to extort money from Kenyan athletes who had failed drugs tests.

He has also denied this.

Former AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat was implicated in the investigation but died at the age of 72 in August 2016.

"In the view of the panel the pattern of conduct warrants serious sanction to establish the firm principle that federation officials must act scrupulously and transparently in managing the finances of their federations in order to protect the name and reputation of the sport of athletics," the Ethics Board's judgement said.