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Republic of Ireland Women's manager Vera Pauw and FAI apologise for song after World Cup place secured

Republic of Ireland Women's players filmed singing song referencing IRA in dressing room after securing place at Women's World Cup for first time; Vera Pauw's side beat Scotland 1-0 on Tuesday; manager takes full responsibility for incident and says any punishments must be accepted

Ireland Women players have apologised for a 'song sung' during their World Cup play-off celebrations
Image: The Republic of Ireland Women players have apologised for a song that referenced the IRA during their World Cup play-off celebrations

UEFA are investigating a video of Ireland Women singing a song referencing the IRA, which manager Vera Pauw admitted "cast a shadow" over their World Cup qualification.

Pauw's side qualified for the tournament for the first time in their history following a 1-0 win over Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday night, after which footage showed the players singing the offensive song in the dressing room.

UEFA have now begun an investigation into the incident, they confirmed in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Pauw - who is Dutch - said she was not in the dressing room at the time and would not have recognised the song if she was, but still took full responsibility for the incident.

"I've been talking to the players and they are devastated," said Pauw, who took charge of the Republic of Ireland in 2019. "I've been talking with the CEO and the president.

"For me, it's very important that respect is the first thing that we emit and, as soon as we do not emit respect, we have a problem.

Scotland , United Kingdom - 11 October 2022; Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw before the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Play-off match between Scotland and Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Image: Vera Pauw took charge of the Republic of Ireland in 2019

"What we did was wrong because of the history. We know it.

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"I must admit that if I had been in the dressing room I would not have recognised it because that is the downside of having a foreign coach. I would not have been able to do anything about it.

"But that doesn't mean that I do not have responsibilities. I take full responsibility for what happened and we will address it further."

Pauw admitted the incident "does put a shadow" over the Republic of Ireland's achievement of reaching their first Women's World Cup, adding that players would "need to accept" any punishments that are handed down, including potential international bans.

"Within the squad, I do not take anything that is not respectful and we never have a problem with that," said Pauw. "I do not take any nonsense to the referee or an opponent either.

"This is the other extreme. We have done a thing that hurt people. It's no excuse that we did not mean to hurt anyone, it's not an excuse that we were celebrating. Our key value is that we respect people so I truly apologise.

"Our way of dealing with our values is that our freedoms stop when we enter the freedoms of somebody else and that is what happened. We have hurt people and it doesn't matter if we didn't intend it or not - we should have known better.

"The players are truly hurt by the fact they hurt others. I have spoken with the player who put it on social media. She's devastated, she's crying in her room because she hurt people and she never meant it.

"I would like, on behalf of all the players, my staff, myself, to apologise for what has happened. Let's treat it as an education of our responsibilities.

"It's not because it got put on social media because, if it hadn't been put on social media, it's still wrong. We shouldn't have done it and we will never do it again."

Mustaki: The players are embarrassed

Scotland , United Kingdom - 10 October 2022; Chloe Mustaki during a Republic of Ireland Women training session at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Image: Chloe Mustaki was part of the Republic of Ireland Women's squad that beat Scotland

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Chloe Mustaki, who was an unused substitute against Scotland, said the entire squad felt "embarrassed" over the incident.

"We're all really sorry in Dublin. It was a massive lapse in judgment on our end," she said.

"There was a lot going on when the final whistle went but we absolutely didn't mean to cause any hurt and we do absolutely apologise for that.

"We're quite embarrassed. There was quite a lot going on in the changing room in such a major moment and there were lots of different songs being put on left, right and centre so we're incredibly embarrassed at this moment in time.

"We didn't mean any hurt on our end so we do really apologise for that."

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