Christmas truce memorial at Frelinghien, near Armentières, France (Photo: Centenary News)

Christmas truce: UK diplomats kick off Centenary football events worldwide

Posted on on 08 December 2014
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Staff at British embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world are marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War Christmas truce by hosting a series of football matches.

German diplomats will be taking to the field with their UK counterparts for some of the games with young people from local communities.

Working in partnership with the Football Association and the British Council, the matches have been organised as part of the 'Football Remembers' campaign which started on December 6th 2014.

FA Chairman Greg Dyke is delighted that British diplomats are joining in, making the event a 'truly international commemoration of the Christmas truce story.'

"It is fitting that football is playing its part in keeping alive this remarkable moment in history," he said.

"No one should ever forget how soldiers from opposing sides put down their weapons to come together in no-man’s land in the spirit of friendship. It is a powerful story that must continue to be told and my thanks go to everyone who is playing their part."

Some of the events taking place this week include:

*Brazil: The British and German consulates in Rio de Janeiro will line up alongside players from the local community and the police to show football as a tool for promoting social inclusion and values such as fair play and respect.The game will take place in the Morro dos Prazeres community - a pacified favela in Rio.

*Russia: In partnership with a local charity, the UK Embassy will host a football match between children from a Moscow orphanage and other local children.

*Israel: The British Embassy in Tel Aviv will organise a football tournament involving 200 young players from Arab and Jewish communities.

*Sri Lanka: Working in conjunction with the 'Sri Lanka Unites' programme to promote reconciliation, the British High Commission will host football matches with around 50 youngsters and a multi-lingual carol service.

*Ghana: A game will be played between teams made up of youngsters from broken homes, as part of a wider charity programme aimed at giving them hope and direction.

*Cambodia: The British Embassy is organising a 5-a-side football tournament between the UK, French, German and EU delegations in the capital, Phnom Penh. Each mission is joining with a different local high school to make a mixed team of embassy staff and students.

Images and videos from all the events will be posted on the 'Football Remembers' website and will feature on social media using the hashtag #FootballRemembers.

*On December 17th, army teams from Britain and Germany will play each other at Aldershot, the town in Southern England known as the 'home of the British Army.'

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Football Remembers.

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News