Violent Rapid fans have air fare paid by club

Rapid Vienna officials face fresh pressure over revelations they paid for the flight tickets for two violent fans last week.The Birmingham Mail newspaper claims Rapid decided to cough up the cost of the air transfer of a pair of hooligans who missed their scheduled flight after being put in custody for assaulting a steward at Aston Villa’s Villa Park stadium during last Thursday’s UEFA Europa League match.The daily reports that the Austrian supporters received cautions following the incident, adding that more than 100 seats were demolished by fans of the away team who entered the European event’s group stage thanks to their 3-2 win.A police spokesman told the Birmingham Mail: “Most of the fans were well behaved and in good spirits before and after the match.”Rapid bosses have been criticised for years by media and many peaceful supporters for “closing their eyes” over some fan groups’ actions.The Green-Whites’ infamous west stand supporters hit the headlines last week when some of them spat at Villa ace Andreas Weimann while being carried off on a stretcher following an injury. The ex-Rapid player – who stressed ahead of the match he will always be a fan of his former club – was also showered with beer.Stadium announcer Andy Marek was pressed to mention the incident caught on TV in the next league home match. He explained Ultras fan group leaders will give a present to Weimann to apologise – but angered peaceful supporters by going on to praise the atmosphere the feared Ultras create week by week.Dozens of Rapid hooligans have been temporarily arrested over the past few months following fights with rival fans outside stadiums, at motorway rest stops and train stations across Austria and abroad.Only a low number of them were banned from attending matches.Rapid were defeated by LASK Linz 0-1 in the league yesterday (Sun). They face FC Porto, Besiktas and CSKA Sofia in the group stage of this season’s Europa League.