Christmas truce: European football pays Centenary tribute in Belgium

Date of Event: 11 December 2014
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European football is to commemorate the centenary of the Christmas truce with the unveiling of a new memorial near Ploegsteert in Belgium on December 11th 2014.

It will be inaugurated by Michel Platini, President of European football's governing body, UEFA, close to the field where British and German troops emerged from their trenches to exchange Christmas greetings in 1914 and play an impromptu football game.

The Saint Yves site is one of a number along the Western Front where, almost five months after the outbreak of the First World War, unofficial ceasefires were reported by soldiers on both sides, 

Michel Platini's special adviser, William Gaillard, told a press conference in London on November 12th: "We felt that if there was a way to commemorate this moment, of the little peace in the Great War, it was definitely to do it on the spot where one of the documented truces took place, where we know that they kicked a ball.

"This was the common language that they had. Kicking a ball was something that everyone could understand as a moment of friendship, and a moment of joy."

The design for the new memorial remains under wraps, but it will be sited next to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Prowse Point cemetery.

European football's tribute heralds a series of Christmas truce commemorations in Ploegsteert and the surrounding area from December 19th-21st.

Source: Belgian Tourist Office - Brussels & Wallonia

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News


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