The Manitoba Lacrosse Association has lifted its ban on spectators from its games and says it has sent a strong message to parents that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.

Tuesday night the Manitoba Lacrosse Association closed the doors to all spectators from its games because of what it calls abuse of league referees.

CTV News was there when parents and spectators who were about to watch a game at the Maples Community Centre were told to leave the stands, leaving many parents standing outside the arena.

A notice was placed on the door saying spectators weren't allowed to watch the games.

On it's website, the Manitoba Lacrosse Association says abusive behaviour from spectators in the stands towards referees has forced the league to take such a drastic measure.

The Association said one senior official has already quit, and it is having trouble assigning referees to officiate games.

With a report from CTV's Shawn Churchill.

Manitoba Lacrosse Association President Glen Henkewich released this statement Wednesday afternoon:

Over the last 24 hours we have received numerous e-mails and phone calls from our membership expressing their strong feedback regarding the decision that was made to have spectators removed or not allowed in the arenas to watch scheduled RRLA box lacrosse play-off games. The consensus from our membership is that they recognize their is a problem with the abuse of officials and many have offered suggestions to address the issue. After a considerable amount of discussion with members of the MLA Board of Directors and with Fred Haight, President of the RRLA, we have collectively agreed to lift the spectator ban effective immediately. To address the issue of spectator behaviour we are asking for your support to help us create a positive environment for players, coaches, officials, administrators and spectators.

Original statement from Glen Henkewich, President of the Manitoba Lacrosse Association:

Over the last few days I have received calls about the spectators abusing officials at the RRLA games. The MLA does have a policy in place to deal with members of the MLA who abuse officials (Zero Tolerance). However the policy does not cover individuals who are not members of the Association. The officials have been instructed by the RIC of the RRLA to have unruly spectators removed from the facility, however the abuse of referees continues. I have had a discussion with the MLA Director of Officials who has indicated that one (1) Senior Official has quit and assigning referees to games are becoming quite challenging. Therefore the RIC has recommended that immediate action take place to ensure that there is no further abuse of officials. have contacted Fred Haight, the President of the RRLA and we have come to the conclusion that the abuse of officials must end immediately. Both the President of the RRLA and myself agree that for the betterment of lacrosse, we must support our officials. Therefore, with the support of Fred Haight, President of the RRLA, I will be instructing Bruce Paton, MLA Director of Officials and Referee in Chief of the RRLA, to have all spectators removed from all facilities where RRLA scheduled league or RRLA play-off games are occurring effective immediately, and will be in effect until further further notice. The abuse of officials must stop and unfortunately the actions of some spectators have resulted in the extreme action being taken.