Masks at matches to be banned

1:41 min

The government has put forward a final draft for a ban against covering one's face at sporting events. The proposal takes a harder stance than was first suggested by a special investigator. 

The rule would mean that with some exceptions people inside an arena who cover their face in a way that prevents identification may be fined and or sent to jail.

"There's no reasonable grounds for wearing a mask at football and hockey games," Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman told Swedish Radio News.

In December a special investigator proposed making it a crime to cover the face in sports arenas but only if that person had caused a disturbance. The government's draft takes a harder line, which Minister Ygeman says provides a rule that's easier to enforce.

"The original proposal was criticized and considered too weak. Now we'll try this tougher ban. We hope to have it in place before the Allsvenskan Swedish football season begins next year," said Ygeman.

The proposed ban would not apply to people who cover their face for religious reasons or for people who do it for work as police do when they wear riot gear. The rule would also allow wearing a scarf over the face during cold weather.

Ygeman said he doesn't think football supporters will be able to abuse the exceptions.

"I think there's little risk of that. And here we have an easy way to judge whether it's reasonable or not, both for the police and courts," he said.