FIFA council member Wolfgang Niersbach, a member of FIFAs ruling council, was banned from soccer for one year on Monday in the first sanction from the investigation into Germanys 2006 World Cup bid.FIFAs ethics committee found Niersbach guilty of failing to report findings about possible unethical conduct and conflicts of interest during the bidding process.Niersbach, who was a vice president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee in charge of media and marketing, described the punishment as inappropriate and excessive.Last year, Niersbach had been considered a possible successor to UEFA President Michel Platini before resigning as president of the German soccer federation when allegations against the bid first surfaced.Niersbach retained his elected positions on the top decision-making bodies at both FIFA and UEFA. He is the first member of the rebranded FIFA Council, which replaced the discredited executive committee in May, to be sanctioned by the ethics division.This decision hits me hard, Niersbach said. I was confident after last Thursdays hearing in Zurich that the ethics commission would not impose a ban, but that it would follow my argument that I am only to blame for a belated report on the critical payments between the 2006 World Cup organizing committee and FIFA in 2005, of which I gradually became aware in the summer of 2015, and that it would set a different punishment.I acknowledged my mistake and regretted it again.Niersbach is consulting his lawyers about whether to appeal against his ban.Swiss federal prosecutors, and German criminal and tax investigators, also have wider ongoing criminal cases into the 2006 World Cup -- a hugely successful tournament at the time which the host nation called its Summer Fairytale.The probe involves irregular seven-figure payments and contracts during the bidding process and organization of the World Cup implicating senior officials.The main FIFA ethics case focuses on former Germany great Franz Beckenbauer, who headed the World Cup organizing team and joined the FIFA executive committee in 2007; Theo Zwanziger, who replaced Beckenbauer at FIFA in 2011; Horst Schmidt, vice president of the World Cup organizing panel; and Stefan Hans, chief financial officer for the organizers.In February, an inquiry report commissioned by the federation tried to explain a complex trail of payments of 6.7 million euros ($7 million) and 10 million Swiss francs ($10 million) that linked Beckenbauer, then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, FIFA powerbroker Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar and Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the late former Adidas executive and part owner of Swiss marketing agency Infront.The report, by law firm Freshfields, did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000. Air Max Flyknit 2018 . Rousey will put her perfect 8-0 record and hardware on the line against another undefeated fighter, 7-0 Sara McMann in the main event of UFC 170, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas Nevada on February 22nd. Air Max Flyknit Womens Price . -- The Missouri Tigers might not have a roster full of superstars. http://www.airmaxflyknitsale.com/ . Kyle Denbrook, a soccer player from Saint Marys University, took the CIS male athlete of the week honour. Stanley, a fourth-year business administration student from Charlottetown, scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Dalhousie on Friday and tallied again in a 1-0 win over Saint Marys on Sunday. Air Max Flyknit Modern . "Thank you for the warm welcome," Beckham said on an 80-degree February morning. In this case, it was soccer weather. The sport moved a step closer to returning to South Florida on Wednesday, when Beckham confirmed he has exercised his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami. Air Max Flyknit 2018 . Brett Kulak and Jackson Houck of the Vancouver Giants were each charged with assault causing bodily harm on Aug. 18, according to the B.C. court services. Niall OBriens unborn grandchildren will hear some great stories one day. Like the one of how his mate stole a stump from Sabina Park after a World Cup win against Pakistan. Or the international cap he was given at 14 after he gave throwdowns to one of the games greats.But the impressive paraphernalia only tells part of the story. At 34, hes nearer the twilight than the sunrise of his career. And beneath the trophies, scorecards and newspaper clippings are tales and memories more meaningful than those that hang on the wall. As with most people, its the formative memories that mean most.OBrien, speaking ahead of Irelands match against Australia in Benoni today, was set to be the only man to have played in each encounter between the two nations this century before he was ruled out with a concussion. His first was at the 2007 World Cup, where he watched 24-year-old Shaun Taits first ball from the relative comfort of the pavilion.Gilchrist mustve been 30 yards back and just caught it as it was flying over his head, OBrien said. He had [Matthew] Hayden next to him, and maybe [Andrew] Symonds. I just remember them yahooing and yelling.I was sitting inside and just thought, Oh f***.OBrien came in soon after and, facing Tait, was bowled first ball. It was a full toss; the ball registered at 94.2 miles an hour. His coach, Adi Birrell, asked what happened. OBrien said he just didnt see it.He has played against Australia four times since and fared better. He feels the days of Australia playing Ireland for a hit-out are gone.They dont hold back. Last year, I copped a bit from a few of their boys. They think Ive got a bit of a strut about me - both myself and Kev [OBriens brother Kevin]. People like [David] Warner were getting stuck in. I would have thought he had a bit of a strut as well. He was definitely having a few words.I like it. I actually revel in it. If I go out and face [Mitchell] Starc or [Pat] Cummins or [Nathan] Coulter-Nile and Ive got Warner sledging me from point, actually Im enjoying that.While many pretend to enjoy the Australian approach, OBrien truly does. His connection with Australia runs deeper than for most and was forged over many summers in Sydney. It was here he cut his teeth in Australias most notorious cricketing back alley: the Sydney Grade competition.At the turn of the century, a connection with Trent Johnston saw OBrien arrive in Australia as a fresh, albeit pale, 19-year-old. He would play for Mosman. An Ireland representative at every underage level to that date, he was accustomed to a place in the top side wherever he was. His first selection night changed that, when Peter Philpott delivered some news.Percy was a great man and I was his lodger when I arrived, OBrien says. He put his arm around me and said, Youre in second grade. Then he said, Ive got a bit of bad news on top of that. Youll be batting No.10. And I thought, Hold on a minute. Im an opening batsman!OBrien didnt mind being selected in second grade, but batting so low was staggering. I remember ringing my dad and saying, Im batting No. 10! I couldnt believe it. Then Percy said, Irish, do me a favour. Between now and Christmas, every time you go out and bat, just put a big price on your wicket. Get yourself 8 not out, 10 not out, 14 not out…So OBrien did. Before long, he was given his chance up the order when Jimmy Nuts Sinclair had to urgently leave for work in Melbourne. OBrien made a decent score and stayed there for the season. His perseverance had been rewarded, and he enjoyed his cricket in some illustrious company for the remainder of his time there.I got to mix around with guys like Brett Lee, his brother Shane, Andrew Strauss and Shoaib Akhtar.Shoaib was great. He used to turn up each week with a bucket of KFC and a woman on each arm and bowl about a million miles an hour, then go home again, or back to Cargo Bar or wherever hed come from on the morning of the match.Whats striking is, OBriens memory is equally clear about team-mates known to nobody outside Sydneys North Shore. He speaks fondly of characters called Yatesy, Groovy, Pauly and Grover. These people shaped his cricketing adventure as much as anyone and helped him through his introduction to grade cricket.At Mosman I learnt about the toughness and harsh reality of grade cricket. The standard is very good, and you get nothing for free.A few years later OBrien arrived again in Australia. This time he lined up with North Sydney, a club that once played home to Sir Donald Bradman and Bill OReilly, and who played their cricket at the picturesque North Sydney Oval. It was here OBrien received his first crack in the top grade after the incumbent, Nigel Taylor, pulled out on the morning of the match with a back injury.I was meant to be playing seconds and two of my best friends - Pyad and Paddy had just turned up from Ireland for a year-long trip, OBrien says. I went out with them for a few pints on Friday and had a few too many, truth be told. I thought, Ah, Im playing twos tomorrow, Ill be all right. Im in a bit of nick and a few pints cant hurt me.He was just getting to sleep at around 5.30am when the club president called and told him that the keeper was injured and that hed be needed in first grade.I thought: this is awesome. But I hadnt slept. So I got a couple of hours sleep, then jumped in a cab over to Bear Park. I got to the oval and my skipper, Jimmy Jack, says, Mate, youre in good form, I want you to bat three.As was par for the course at the Bears, we were one down early. I walk out with two hours sleep under my belt and just remember getting sledged from ball one.I eventually turned around and said, Whos this bloke sledging me? And it was a wicketkeeper by the name of Daniel Smith. He proceeded to sledge me from ball one to pretty much 5.32pm, when I got out for 116.I thought, This is bizarre. Ive never met this bloke before. It wouldnt happen in Ireland. Youd only sledge someone if there was really bad blood. I was just aa little Irish lad walking out to bat whos had two hours sleep - I didnt deserve it!So I thought, Okay, if this is how they want to play, then I will mix it with these boys.ddddddddddddMy two friends Paddy and Pyad turned up at about 5pm to see me get my hundred. The state of you, lad! they said. Then we went back to the pub and all of a sudden I was the club presidents best mate. He wanted to sign me on the spot.When they returned for day two the following week, OBrien received assurance from his opening bowler, Newcastle product Matt Baker, that hed take care of Smitty. The prophecy was true; Smith was dismissed early, caught behind by OBrien. He chuckles while recalling the specific names of each team-mate that gave Smith a bit of a gobful - names like Burto, Pidgey and Bakes.It wasnt all bravado and bluster on the field, though. Sometimes the mood changed when the opposition took time to learn a little more about OBrien.We were playing in Campbelltown. Id played my cricket in North Sydney and Mosman. I was used to the Sydney way of life. Next thing I know, Im out at Raby Oval: its two hours away, you pay a toll, its a million degrees and flies the size of your hand. One of their quicks was all effin this, effin that, effin Pom.I was on about 5 or 6 at the time and I said, All right bud, Im actually Irish, and he goes, Oh sorry, youre all right then!Now were walking off the field and theyre all talking to me, saying things like, So where are you from in Ireland? Howve you found Australia? and Im thinking, What is going on here?****Like many who were born in the 80s, Australia was OBriens cricketing reference point. He grew up in a little village called Sandymount in Dublin. The tradition in his house was to watch the Boxing Day Test on Christmas night.Wed all watch the first session together before drifting off at half one, but Id always stay up for the second session. Even now when I go home for Christmas, my mum will ask whether Im staying up for the Test. Someone in my family always gets me a case of VB or Carlton on Christmas, so I can sit up and have an Aussie beer while watching the Test.Asked whether he had a hero, he name-checks the usuals: Slater, Taylor, Langer - all pugnacious opening batsmen in their own right. He then takes a breath and lets the silence hang, as if to clear a path for someone regal. Steve Waugh was my ideal hero.More than any other Australian cricket icon, Waugh seems to be the subject of life-affirming stories from members of the public. So it is with OBrien.He coached me when he was in Ireland for a four-week stint. He was playing for Ireland against Australia A. I had a souvenir Australian hat. Steve Waugh was doing a training session down at Pembroke Cricket Club and he said to me, Whered you get the cap?I explained and he pointed to his own one-day cap and said, At the end of the tour, this cap is yours. OBrien was unconvinced. I thought, Yeah, sure thing…Four weeks later, Waugh played for Ireland against Australia A at Waringstown, Belfast. OBrien was there.My dad and I were sitting by the boundary edge when he came over, tapped me on the shoulder and said, Youve got to earn that cap now. I said, What do you mean? and he said, How about a few throwdowns? So there I was giving Steve Waugh throwdowns, aged 14, and afterwards he says, Theres your cap.****Australian cricket has always been big for me, says OBrien. Though for many aspiring cricketers in the northern hemisphere, the grade cricket breeding ground isnt as palatable as it once was. A lot of the English guys at home get two or three hits a week, and when they go over [to Australia] they say, We dont get to bat enough. I looked at it the other way. If Im only going to bat twice a month I thought, I better be at training and when I do get out in the middle, to make sure I make it count.OBrien plays the game hard, and while he feels thats an innate trait, he does recognise the impact of grade cricket on his own approach, and worries about the influence of academy culture on young cricketers making their way through the game.A lot of Australian cricket and their mentality and way of life has been instilled in me, and for me, grade cricket was fantastic cricket.But as good as all these academies are here, in Australia and around the world - and they do a lot of good things - I think they detract a lot from what you learn on the field, what you learn from good times, bad times, being around experienced cricketers… I think theyre sheltering a lot of cricketers from the harsh realities of cricket.A lot of them have been brought up in the English academies and spoon-fed or wrapped up in cotton wool to a certain extent, whereas I just played in my garden and whatever facility I could get a hit on, Id get a hit on.His time in grade cricket was a perfect example.Youd go to North Sydney No. 2 and if the groundsman hasnt bothered to put the covers on and its pissed raining all afternoon, then so be it. Youd get a ten-minute hit against the seamers and a ten-minute hit against the spinners, and my aim would just be to not lose my wicket.Whether Im hit on the inside thigh 18 times or Ive got 44 inches of bruising… if I havent got out, then that will stand me in good stead for the weekend.Unfortunately, he wont be striding out against Australia today. If he had done, it would have been as one of his countrys best ever cricketers, and bringing with him an appreciation for the Australian way, both on the field and off.I think theyve got some good characters in there, the Aussies. Off the pitch theyre a pretty good bunch of lads. Theyre not shy of sharing a beer or having a chat around the bar at the hotel, and they always say hello in the morning.While Australian cricket hasnt entirely made him who he is, OBrien has been indelibly instilled with its spirit wherever he plays. 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