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Halifax youth basketball league banning fans over ‘unexplainable’ spectator behaviour

A Halifax minor basketball association has banned spectators from games this weekend, citing ‘concerning behaviour’ towards officials and players that have ‘reached a tipping point.’

In a letter to club presidents, Metro Basketball Association’s league manager, Chris Lerette, said they have seen an increase in concerning behaviour each week.

“The disrespect shown week in and week out towards officials and facilities is unexplainable,” he wrote.

“We have had a number of significant issues, including spectators berating officials, spectators screaming at players on opposing teams custodians being mistreated for following the stated rules with respect to access to spaces.”

Lerette further explained the association has lost 12 officials as a “direct impact,” with a further 25 officials who opted not to come back from last season.

He pointed out that players are aged 8 to 18, and that some spectators, parents and fans have lost perspective of why they play the sport: “for the kids.”

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Spectators are being banned from this weekend’s games and officials have ben asked not to start games if anyone other than those listed on game sheets is present in the gym.

“For those parents and spectators who have decided to yell at an official or a school custodian, we hope that this weekend offers an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of their behaviour,” he wrote.

Lerette said spectators will be allowed back to league games in the new year, and they will “continue to monitor this situation very closely with hopes that no further action is required.”

Global News has reached out to Lerette for further comment.

In a separate email to parents, Bedford Minor Basketball president Brian Allt said he hoped the issue will “self correct” and fans can return next year.

“While this is not ideal, the decision has been made based on a number of incidents that have taken place this season,” he wrote.

“I understand this will be upsetting to some but the league and our club will not tolerate inappropriate behaviours from parents and fans.”

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