It was the latter exception that was exploited by a group of supporters of the Stockholm club AIK during their Football All-Swedish season opener against Häcken, who wore face-covering niqabs.
All the ensuing doubt was later dispelled by the supporters themselves, who rolled out a large banner explaining their actions and lauding Interior Minister Anders Ygeman for providing them with a convenient loophole.
"AIK ultras mean well, and we're wearing masks for religious reasons. Freedom for ultras is the goal, thanks Ygeman for the loophole," the banner read.
"Frankly speaking, I believe the banner is quite funny. It shows that AIK fans have a sense of humor," Anders Ygeman told the Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet.
Anders Ygeman went on to add that he viewed this as a single act of protest and did not expect niqabs and other religious headgear to become a fashion craze among Swedish hooligans. According to him, Swedish courts can step in, if necessary, and establish whether or not faces were covered for religious reasons and prosecute the masked men who do otherwise.
According to Ygeman, people taunting ministers was not a problem, as there still were real problems in the stands left to tackle, like violence or people using illegal fireworks. Previously, Ygeman emerged as one of the driving forces behind the ban, arguing that "a few troublemakers" should not be allowed to "destroy the joy of the sport."
"No comment here. One gets only tired of this…," Björn Eriksson wrote in an SMS to Aftonbladet.
The mask ban came in response to a spate of mask-related incidents at Swedish football matches, including a match being disrupted by a masked hooligan running out onto the pitch and assaulting a goalkeeper.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!