The site of UEFA's Christmas truce memorial, next to Prowse Point Commonwealth Cemetery, before work began (Photo: Centenary News)

Christmas truce: European football chief unveils new memorial in Belgium today

Posted on on 11 December 2014
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European football commemorates the centenary of the Christmas truce today (December 11th 2014), with the unveiling of a new memorial near Ploegsteert in Belgium.

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 ceremony takes place at 11.30am, next to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Prowse Point cemetery. Centenary News is reporting from Belgium.

The area is one of a number along the Western Front where, almost five months after the outbreak of the First World War, unofficial ceasefires were observed.  

Michel Platini's special adviser, William Gaillard, said: "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."

This morning'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