Sweden on Wednesday banned fans from covering their faces at sporting venues to clamp down on violence by masked hooligans, while allowing exceptions for religious reasons.

The ban, which aims to prevent people from "disguising all or part of their face so as to make it more difficult to be identified", will come into force on March 1.

Anyone violating the ban will face up to six months in jail, according to the interior ministry, which first proposed the draft legislation last June.

Exceptions will be made for "people who cover their face for religious reasons" or for people wearing masks in the course of their duties, for example firefighters or police, according to the law as approved by parliament.

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