Ref, that's a trunk ball

A school football team in Thailand discovered a new meaning to heavyweight opposition yesterday when it played against elephants.

With the World Cup just a day away, the build-up has led to some unusual promotional events around the globe, such as this kickabout with the gentle giants.

At a school in Ayutthaya, Thailand, elephants had the national flags of countries taking part in the upcoming World Cup painted on them and, together with their mahouts (elephant trainers), played against school students as part of an anti-gambling campaign.

The World Cup, which will run until July 15, begins with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia tomorrow at 11pm Singapore time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2018, with the headline 'Ref, that's a trunk ball'. Print Edition | Subscribe