Ireland beat Scotland 1-0 to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time ©Getty Images

Football's European governing body UEFA has opened an investigation into a chant by the Ireland national team after they qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time.

A video emerged of the Irish players singing "up the Ra" during the post-match celebrations in the dressing room at Hampden Park, where they had beaten Scotland 1-0.

This references the Irish Republican Army (IRA), a name used by several paramilitary organisations opposing British rule on the island of Ireland, most notably the Provisional IRA which was active during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

UEFA said its "Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector will investigate potential inappropriate behaviour" by Ireland's players following the match against Scotland, with further information to be made available "in due course".

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the team's Dutch manager Vera Pauw have apologised for the incident.

"I've been talking to the players and they are devastated," Pauw told Sky Sports.

"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.

"What we did was wrong because of the history.

Ireland's manager Vera Pauw said the players were
Ireland's manager Vera Pauw said the players were "devastated" after the video was widely circulated ©Getty Images

"We know it.

"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."

The FAI has said it and Pauw "apologise for any offence caused by a song sung by players in the Ireland dressing room".

Families of the victims of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings had criticised the players for the chant, with Julie Hambleton - the sister of one of Maxine Hambleton and a member of the Justice4the21 group - saying that they had been left "hurting and possibly traumatised" by the incident, as reported by the Birmingham Mail.

She added that one of the group's supporters had suggested the players "should be banned from the World Cup".

Louise Quinn, Jamie Finn, Harriet Scott and Lucy Quinn of Ireland play for Birmingham City Women Football Club.

Amber Barrett scored the winning goal 18 minutes from time for Ireland in Scotland to clinch a place at next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The team had finished second to Olympic silver medallists Sweden in Group A.