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UEFA fines Ireland over women’s team pro-IRA chant

European governing body UEFA has fined the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) after members of its women’s team chanted a sectarian song following a World Cup qualifying match.

A clip emerged on social media showing players singing the song in support of the paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA) as they celebrated a 1-0 victory over Scotland’ at Glasgow’s Hampden Park in October singing “Ooh ah, up the ‘RA”.

The play-off victory qualified the Republic for their first appearance at a Women’s World Cup.

UEFA said Thursday, its control, ethics and disciplinary body (CEDB) had fined the FAI 20,000 euros (£17,271) over an incident it labelled “a violation of the basic rules of decent conduct”.

Speaking soon after the clip became public, both the FAI and Ireland manager Vera Pauw, who is herself Dutch, apologised for the incident. 

“We are sorry collectively for any hurt caused, there can be no excuse for that,” she said.

Unlike rugby union, where one team represents the whole of Ireland, the divided nature of government on the island is reflected in separate football teams. 

The FAI runs soccer affairs in the southern Republic of Ireland, while the Irish Football Association is the governing body for the game in the British-controlled province of Northern Ireland.

The IRA was behind a decades-long campaign of violence in opposition to British rule in Northern Ireland before the conflict came to an end with a 1998 peace deal.

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