Bilbao fans taunted by neo-Nazis at Austria Vienna game
A football match between Athletic Bilbao and Austria Vienna was stopped for half an hour after neo-Nazis invaded the pitch brandishing banners emblazoned with the phrase 'Viva Franco'.
The Basque football team was taunted by far-Right extremists throughout the game in the Austrian capital on Thursday evening.
The Europa League game was suspended for almost half an hour during the second half following ugly disturbances at the Franz Horr Stadium.
Supporters from the home stands set off flares flooding the stadium with thick smoke, threw objects at the players, and eventually invaded the pitch when the Bilbao team scored its second goal in the 62nd minute.
Players from the Basque team raced to the shelter of their dressing room as riot police formed a line just outside the penalty area while the Austria team pleaded with supporters in an effort to calm the situation.
Some of the Austrian fans, thought to be members of a neo-Nazi group, were seen waving banners with the phrase 'Viva Franco'.
The Basque region in northeastern Spain was one of the worst to suffer during the 36 year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, when even the Basque language was banned.
Athletic Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros admitted his side was concerned for the safety of their fans during Thursday's match.
"We were not afraid for ourselves, but for our fans, for our people. We worry about our people, who came to see a show and enjoy watching their team and you feel that there could have been a major incident.
"It's a bad image for football. The behaviour of the professionals from Austria was perfect, but we need to stop this, because those of us that love this sport cannot allow it to have this image," he said.
Play was eventually resumed and Athletic Bilbao knocked Austria Vienna out of the league with a 3-0 win.