West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) marketing and communications manager Carole Beckford says that the body will not be drawn on speculation about the future of West Indies cricket should the International Cricket Council (ICC) go ahead with its proposed changes regarding team membership.Under these proposed changes, full members of the ICC would have their statuses reviewed every five years, after which, a decision will be made about their membership. Associate members would have their statuses reviewed every two years, and affiliate membership would be scrapped altogether.An email, which was circulated among ICC members, said full membership status is not permanent and “a full member may be reclassified as an associate member upon the recommendation of the Membership Committee, where it fails to meet the retention criteria.”Another proposal being suggested is that the ICC will withhold funding from members unless they provide information on their finances, as well as how it is spent.It is believed that these measures would put pressure on teams, such as the West Indies, that have been struggling with match results for a number of years.NO NEED FOR SPECULATIONHowever, Beckford told The Gleaner that these are only plans and nothing has yet been decided as a meeting will first need to take place between the council and each member, associate and affiliate team. As such, she says the WICB sees no need to be drawn on speculation at the moment as no decision will be made before such a meeting.The West Indies Test team is currently ranked eigth of ten teams in the world as at February 13, while, as of February 22, its One-Day International side is ninth of twelve ranked teams in that format. The West Indies Twenty20 team is fourth of 17.
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However, how Barca’s fans will react to a tumultuous few weeks of political tension in Catalonia is less predictable with the support split like the rest of society in the wealthy northeastern region of Spain.“FC Barcelona will display a 45×46 metre banner at Camp Nou before kick-off Wednesday night emblazoned with the phrase ‘Dialogue, Respect, and Sport’ to call attention to the current situation in Catalonia,” Barca said in a statement on Tuesday.“People come to the stadium to express themselves, to experience the game, to enjoy it and we hope that tomorrow people come to the stadium to enjoy watching us play,” added Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.“If someone wants to demonstrate one way or another isn’t something that concerns us when we are preparing for a game.”Chants in favour of independence are common at the Camp Nou from a section of the Barca fanbase, most notably in the 17th minute to mark the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714.Barca have also been repeatedly fined by UEFA for fans flying the Catalan ‘Estelada’ flag, which has become a symbol of the independence movement within Catalonia, at Champions League matches.Leading Barca players such as Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta called for politicians on both sides of the independence debate to negotiate in the wake of the October 1 referendum.As Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and seized ballot papers leaving 92 injured, among nearly 900 who sought medical attention that day, Barca beat Las Palmas 3-0 behind closed doors.Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted he tried to have the match abandoned, but instead settled for showing their opposition by playing the match in an empty 99,000-capacity Camp Nou.– Confused standoff –Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (C) fights for the ball with Sporting’s defenders during their UEFA Champions League Group D match, at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, on September 27, 2017 © AFP/File / FRANCISCO LEONGYet, players have been less keen to position themselves on the confused political fallout in the past few weeks.A standoff has ensued with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy calling on Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to clarify if he has declared independence for Catalonia on the basis of the referendum, deemed illegal by the Spanish government.However, thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia again on Tuesday after a judge ordered the detention of two separatist leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez on Monday, reigniting the political touch paper.Barca announced representatives of pro-independence citizens’ groups Omnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly, led by Cuixart and Sanchez respectively, will be invited to the game.Barca’s first visit to Madrid since the escalation of the political divide to face Atletico Madrid on Saturday was expected to provoke a hostile welcome for the visitors.However, other than the waving of more Spanish flags than normal at Atletico matches and some jeers for Pique, the match passed off peacefully.“It was a great game, in a great atmosphere, in a great stadium,” said Valverde.Despite a series of distractions on and off the field, including the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and calls for Bartomeu to resign on top of the Catalonia crisis, Barca have started impressively under Valverde.A run of nine straight wins in La Liga and the Champions League was ended on Saturday, but Barca are heavy favourites to get back to winning ways against one of Valverde’s former clubs.Valverde won three league titles over two spells with the Greek giants, who have never won in 14 previous visits to Spain.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A message board outside Barcelona FC’s Camp Nou stadium announces that the site is closed as part of a general strike in Barcelona called by Catalan unions, on October 3, 2017 © AFP/File / Josep LAGOMadrid, Spain, Oct 17 – For the first time since playing to an empty stadium in protest at a violent crackdown of an independence referendum in Catalonia, Barcelona’s Camp Nou opens its doors when Olympiakos visit on Wednesday.On the field, Barca should have little problem sweeping aside an Olympiakos side without a point in the Champions League so far this season to consolidate their position atop Group D.