Wales remembers 1914 truce

The Football Association of Wales is joining with British Council Wales to commemorate the 1914 Christmas Truce, when football provided an extraordinary moment of peace and fraternity.

The Wales squad and senior Football Association of Wales officials visited a cemetary in Flanders to remember 1914
The Wales squad and senior Football Association of Wales officials visited a cemetary in Flanders to remember 1914 ©FAW

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is joining with British Council Wales to help players and fans commemorate the events of Christmas Day 1914 in Flanders, Belgium, when First World War soldiers from both sides celebrated Christmas – some even coming together to play football in a remarkable gesture of fraternity.

The FAW's campaign will be led by the Welsh Premier League (WPL) teams, and the invitation to participate will also be extended to all of the association's affiliated leagues.

Until 14 December, as part of the Football Remembers week, players are being asked to pose together in a group photograph as a mark of respect to those that played in the 1914 Christmas Truce match. Teams can post their photographs on social media using the hashtag #FootballRemembers, and the pictures will be automatically uploaded to a dedicated website via social media.

"Photos from any football match of any size can be uploaded, from school to Sunday league fixtures, five-a-side matches to kickabouts in the back garden," said the director of British Council Wales, Jenny Scott. "The website will 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.

"We hope to see many photographs from Wales uploaded on the site as commemoration of World War I," she added. "The Christmas Truce is a poignant story that reminds us of the power of sport to cross boundaries and make international friendships."

Last month, following their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying match in Belgium, the Welsh international squad visited Artillery Wood Cemetery in the village of Boezinge near Ypres to pay their respects. Many of the 1,307 soldiers buried there are Welshmen. FAW TV produced a video to mark the visit, during which Wales national team manager Chris Coleman laid a wreath.

"The FAW is pleased to participate in the Football Remembers project," said WPL secretary Gwyn Derfel, "It's believed that a number of Welshmen were involved in the historic football match."