06/11/2012 11:15 EDT | Updated 08/11/2012 05:12 EDT

Blue Bombers back down a bit over noise ban

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have taken a step back from their all-encompassing noisemaker ban, which had raised the ire of fans on Monday.

The CFL team's chief operating officer acknowledged on Monday afternoon, in the wake of fan furor, that perhaps the Bombers did not go about the ban on cowbells the right way.

"We have a passionate, loyal fan base," Jim Bell told reporters.

"With that, we want to make sure that whether people are bringing cowbells or noisemakers or what have you, that not only are they enjoying the game, but also the fans in front of them and around them are enjoying the game."

Earlier in the day, Bell issued a statement saying the Bombers will now permit over-the-counter purchased cowbells to be used at home games.

"But homemade noisemakers, such as empty paint cans with rocks inside or any other device that may be deemed unsafe by our security staff will not be permitted," Bell stated in the release.

"It was never our intention to diminish the fan experience, and we do encourage fans to bring thunder sticks, clappers and plastic horns powered by human voice."

The team had come under fire for a new policy banning noisemakers from home games. Fans took to Facebook, particularly the Blue Bombers' official team page, to express their displeasure.

"Seriously? Seriously? No noisemakers? What a joke Bombers management. Let's just sit on our hands and do nothing," wrote Geoff Archambault.

"I'll be bringing my cow bell to the office for a full refund, and sounds like I will not renew my 4 season tickets for 12/13 season out of principle."

While some cowbells will now make the cut, the team's "prohibited items" list still includes musical instruments, megaphones, and any other artificial noisemakers — "any device that creates noise outside of your own voice."

Also on the no-no list: flag poles and picnic baskets. And no water bottles that have not been purchased inside the stadium.

"Translation: If the fans are putting money into our pockets we will allow it. If not, it's banned," Glen Zelinsky posted on the Bomber fans Facebook page.

"I love the way the Bomber Brass waits until the season tickets are sold before they leak the new rules. That way they can look at the books and say, 'look, the STUPID new rules didn't affect ticket sales.' Well guess what, it will affect the fans game day experience AND the players," Jim Backus posted on the page.

"Pathetic, totally pathetic."

The irony is that many of the noisemakers are licensed by the team, with the team logo, and were sold at the team store.

'Beer cup snake' banned in 2010

"What is with the no Bomber pride — no flags. What's next? No beer? Oh wait that already happened, well kind of, no more jumbo cups," Kelly-Ann Stevenson posted on the Facebook page.

Almost two years ago, the Blue Bombers banned fans from creating so-called "beer cup snakes," in which thousands of large plastic beer cups are stacked together in the form of a snake that stretched over dozens of rows.

That ban was the result of minor injuries some fans reported from beer cups being thrown at the end of a home game in July 2010, but many fans protested the move.

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood said the team should have surveyed fans before it implemented the ban and then been forced to backtrack.

He also said the noise can be a big help to a home team.

"Noise is very important. It's part of the home field advantage and it can do a great deal to disrupt the opponents' offence," he said.

"The Bomber fans are known for it at Canad Inns Stadium. It's caused lots of trouble for opposing offences."