Clubs competing in the Barclays Premier League, the Sky Bet Football League and the second round of the FA Cup, will be commemorating the centenary of one of the most iconic moments of the First World War - the 1914 Christmas Truce – as part of a week of remembrance activity in December 2014.
'Football Remembers Week' will take place from 5-14 December. A joint collaboration between The FA, the Premier League, the Football League and the British Council, the aim is to engage football fans and players at every level about what took place on Christmas Day one hundred years ago on the battlefields in Belgium.
On 25 December 1914, soldiers from both sides put down their weapons and crossed into ‘no man’s land’ to share in an impromptu ceasefire. First-hand accounts from the time include references to football being played and photographs taken.
All photos uploaded to social media using #footballremembers will be automatically uploaded to a special website – www.footballremembers.com. The site shall act as a moment of record of football in 2014, a century on from the First World War, and will be preserved for future generations.
HRH The Duke of Cambridge, President of The FA, said: “It promises to be a powerful way to engage and educate young people about such an important moment in our history. We all grew up with the story of soldiers from both sides putting down their arms on Christmas Day, and it remains wholly relevant today as a message of hope over adversity, even in the bleakest of times.”
Football Remembers kicked off in May 2014 when the four partners launched a Football Remembers education pack that was sent to more than 30,000 schools across the UK. It includes resources to help children learn about the Truce – including eye-witness accounts, photos, drawings and letters from soldiers some of which have never been published before.
A key element of the Football Remembers education pack was a competition for schools and football academies to design a permanent Christmas Truce memorial for the National Memorial Arboretum. The competition was judged by HRH The Duke of Cambridge – President of The FA – and Arsenal and England forward Theo Walcott.
The winning design was drawn by 10 year-old Spencer Turner from Farne Primary in Newcastle, and he will attend a special service later in the year to mark the unveiling at the Arboretum, near St. George’s Park.
Other Football Remembers activity taking place between now and the end of 2014 includes:
• Christmas Truce International Tournament in Ypres
o The Premier League has held this annual tournament in Ypres, the home of the Christmas Truce, for U12 footballers since 2011.
o A qualifying tournament will be held between 14-16 November in Ypres involving U12 teams from all 20 Premier League clubs
o This will be the first Christmas Truce International Tournament to be played on a new 3G pitch that the Premier League has gifted to the city of Ypres.
o Ten teams will play in the tournament: two each from the Premier League, German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, Belgium Pro League, and one each from Scotland and Austria
o To commemorate the sacrifices made by soldiers from around the world there will be a community tournament made up of players for Premier League Kicks projects at home and around the world.
o An educational and culture programme accompanies the tournament as the players visit the site of the original Christmas truce site, Commonwealth and German war graves, preserved trenches and lay wreaths at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
• UK Parliamentary Reception
o To raise the profile of Football Remembers among Parliamentarians, Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central and a former Major in the British Army, is hosting a reception at the House of Commons.
• Poster competition with the National Football Museum - Young people are invited to create posters telling the stories of footballers who fought in the First World War and send them to the National Football Museum in Manchester https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/classroom-resources/football-remembers/find-a-footballer
• International fixtures - England footballers will also be supporting the Football Remembers project during their international get-together in November ahead of the men’s fixtures with Slovenia and Scotland and the women’s historic Wembley match against Germany on 23 November.
• The FA and the Army FA – are working on a commemorative match involving the German Army.