UEFA commemorates centenary of Christmas Truce

Thursday 11 Dec 2014
Michel Platini unveils Christmas Truce sculpture

Greg Dyke represented The FA at a special UEFA dedication ceremony in Belgium on Thursday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce. 

The FA Chairman travelled to Comines-Warneton as part of the ongoing commemorations of one of the key moments of the First World War. 

In muddy fields surrounding the Belgian town on 25 December 1914, soldiers from both sides had put down their weapons to meet in 'no-man's land' in the spirit of friendship and football. 

UEFA Christmas Truce sculpture

The UEFA Christmas Truce sculpture (photo: sportsfile)

One hundred years on, UEFA President Michel Platini unveiled a sculpture commemorating the centenary - ensuring a permanent reminder of the moment when death and destruction gave way to hope and humanity. 

He also introduced the premiere of a special four-minute film, featuring FA Vice-President Sir Bobby Charlton and England captain Wayne Rooney alongside other football greats. 

Platini said: “We are gathered here as one to mark that moment of brotherhood and friendship which reassures us of our shared humanity. 

"I find it particularly moving to imagine those young men 100 years ago finding a common language in football to express their shared brotherhood. 

"Today football is a universal language which opens our hearts, which enables contact between cultures and brings people together across all borders and frontiers.

UEFA Christmas Truce Film

Watch UEFA's Christmas Truce anniversary film [click image]

"All those years ago, football provided a vital bridge for the spontaneous expression of humanity. So it was perfectly normal for European football to pay a glowing tribute to them now, to all those who decided on that evening to think about something positive and play the game they loved.” 

Sir Bobby said: “I am absolutely flattered to have the opportunity to take part in this film. It is such a great feeling to imagine that, in something that is completely devastating like war, football brings everyone together. 

"Football is such a dramatic game – and for those two forces to come together in the middle of a war and to say that it’s a disgrace and that it shouldn't be happening. It is something that I am unbelievably proud of.” 

On Friday, Dyke will join FA President HRH The Duke of Cambridge in unveiling a special monument to the Christmas Truce at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. 

The memorial, jointly funded by The FA, Premier League, Football League and British Council, was designed by ten year old Newcastle schoolboy Spencer Turner.

By Greg Demetriou