Football: UEFA to mark 1914 Christmas truce match

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014. Filed under: Destinations Sports & Recreation
© In Green/shutterstock.com

© In Green/shutterstock.com

(GENEVA-AFP) – European football’s governing body UEFA on Tuesday announced that it planned a high-level ceremony to mark the 1914 Christmas truce match played by Allied and German soldiers in World War I.

UEFA chief Michel Platini has invited the leaders of Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and Italy, plus the heads of the national football associations, to take part in the December 17 commemoration.

“This remembrance ceremony pays homage to the soldiers who, a century ago, expressed their humanity by coming together to play football, thereby opening an important chapter in the construction of European unity and serving as an example for today’s young people to follow,” the former France international said in a statement.

In 1914, soldiers on both sides downed weapons and held an impromptu football match between the trenches in Flanders, calling a brief halt to the mass slaughter to celebrate Christmas.

The impromptu football match came four months after the war began on the Western Front, and was condemned by both sides’ military leaders as fraternisation with the enemy.

There was no recorded repeat of the football matches as the war dragged on.

The 1914 game has become a symbol of ordinary soldiers’ shared experience across the lines, and of the hope for peace, which did not come until 1918.

UEFA said that the match had been a “rare and extraordinary moment of peace and human fraternity, when football emerged as the only common language among men of different nationalities”.

Part of the commemoration is to take place in Comines-Warneton, the Belgian town where the original match took place, and where a monument will be unveiled.

A remembrance service is also to be held in nearby Ypres, which was the epicentre of some of the bloodiest and most futile battles of the war.

Share Button

Related posts

RugbyU: London to host European rugby finalsSpending the night in a cemetery and other strange New Year’s customsFootball: London and Munich rivals for Euro 2020 semis and finalNo sand, no beach: Snow volleyball takes Alps by stormNew Logitech mice honor World Cup soccer teamsFootball: Steps eyed to protect World Cup players from heatEuro 2016 host cities: things to see and do in BordeauxOlympics: Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome bid for 2024 GamesFootball: UAE rubber-stamped as Asian Cup hostsWingsuit daredevils risking their lives on filmWorld Cup visitors happiest with friendly Brazilians and food: reportInterest in Germany builds with World Cup victoryWorld Cup’s winners, losers converge in hip streetsCould this be most viral airline video of all time?Football: Qatar determined to take heat out of hostingThe 2014 most endangered sites and landmarks in the world: reportTop autumn marathonsFootball: Berlin to host 2015 Champions League finalFootball: Spotlight falls on Brazil for Confed CupFinal candidates vie for Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Jobs in the World’