Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Football game planned to mark truce

Ministers are working on plans to commemorate the anniversary of the Christmas truce during the First World War
Ministers are working on plans to commemorate the anniversary of the Christmas truce during the First World War

Ministers are working on plans to commemorate the anniversary of the Christmas truce during the First World War with a football match on the battlefields of Flanders.

The Government is talking to the Football Association and the National Children's Football Alliance about how the 1914 matches in no man's land can be remembered.

Defence Minister Andrew Murrison said a football match was "a no-brainer in terms of an event that is going to reach part of the community that perhaps might not get terribly entrenched into this".

Prime Minister David Cameron raised the possibility last year of football matches forming part of an extended series of events to mark the centenaries of key moments during the First World War.

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Murrison indicated that it was an idea was being pursued although planning was still at an early stage and "discussions are ongoing".

"I think football has a particular part to play because of the totemic significance of the Christmas truce in 1914," he said.

"We have been in touch with Football Association and the National Children's Football (Alliance) to see how this can be done. I know they are enthused and have already clocked the fact that other countries are thinking along similar lines."

He added: "It is clear the Christmas truce is going to be commemorated in a very significant way. It had no real relevance to the outcome of the war but at that deeply, intensely, personal level, it is something that people really do latch on to."

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