Football Remembers

In 2014 the Premier League partnered with The FA, Football League and The British Council to deliver ‘Football Remembers’, commemorating one of the most iconic moments of World War 1, the 1914 Christmas Truce.

The Premier League wants all young players to learn their craft in a nurturing environment. They broaden their talents by receiving an education in inspirational facilities linked to an innovative Games Programme. Football Remembers delivered on all of these objectives, providing a legacy that will live on for many years to come.

From pitch to poem: How football remembered

Creating history – In May 2014, Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder, Eden Hazard launched the Football Remembers Education Pack that was sent to more than 30,000 schools across the UK. It included resources to help young people learn about the Truce.

Grand design – The pack had a Christmas Truce Memorial Design competition. The winning design of ten year-old Spencer Turner was chosen by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Arsenal forward Theo Walcott.

Eden Hazard with Chelsea pensioners

All Together Now – The Farm’s 1990 song about the Truce was re-recorded and featured a backing choir of 60 U12 footballers: 38 from Premier League clubs and 22 from German clubs.

Creating a living memorial – To build a lasting sporting and education legacy, the Premier League gifted the Belgian city of Ypres an artificial grass pitch. To mark its opening, U12 teams from all 20 Premier League clubs came to compete in the Christmas Truce National Tournament. They played elite football against high-quality opposition and learnt about what took place in Belgium in World War I.

footsteps on a frosty pitch

A Moment in History – Every Barclays Premier League, Championship and FA Cup Second Round match that took place during December 6th-8th saw the 22 starting players pose together in a group photograph as a mark of respect. Over 13,000 football teams from across the UK joined in, uploading their team pictures to a special site. The images have been given to the British Library and preserved for future generations.

Political support – MPs held a UK Parliamentary Reception for Football Remembers, while Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed participants in the Christmas Truce International Tournament to No. 10 Downing Street. As well as featuring Academy teams from across Europe the event also involved a community tournament with male and female players from Premier League Kicks projects at home and abroad.

David Cameron welcomes tournament participants

League of Nations – For the Christmas Truce International Tournament, ten U12 teams played in the tournament: two each from the Premier League, German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, Belgium Pro League, and one each from Scotland and Austria. An educational and cultural programme accompanied the tournament. It included the laying of wreaths at the Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony and a dinner where the boys exchanged gifts like the soldiers did in 1914.

A poetic finish – Football Remembers came to a conclusion with the Christmas Truce Poem, a unique contribution of football past, present and future. The poem was developed with input from the 320 boys who took part and delivered by 17 footballers, coaches, managers and referees. It appeared on the Football Remembers site on Christmas Day, a century on from the Christmas Truce, and can be viewed here.

Chelsea U12 player Valentino Livramento reflects on the cultural and football education of the Christmas Truce Tournament

Chelsea U12 player Valentino Livramento

“There were so many special moments. Being the first to play on the new Football Remembers 3G pitch at Ypres. Winning the qualifying tournament against 19 other Premier League teams. Learning so much at the memorials and graveyards. Meeting the great-grandson of the German general responsible for the Christmas Truce. Laying a wreath at the Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony. The chance to understand different cultures. Having Howard Webb referee us. Playing against some of the best teams in Europe, coping with their tactics and understanding how they were organised. Playing so well as a team and learning to win. But most of all, it was about having so much fun. I will never forget this. It's been the hardest and the best tournament we've ever played in.”

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