A group of elephants in Thailand played soccer Tuesday, as part of an anti-gambling campaign leading up to the start of the FIFA World Cup.
Painted with the flags of countries competing in the international soccer event, nine elephants played a friendly match against local students in the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Organizers arranged the 15-minute match to raise awareness about illegal gambling in the country, specifically highlighting underground betting on World Cup matches.
“They’re here to bring color and joy, and create awareness that we can enjoy the World Cup without gambling and just cheer for the soccer players,” Reangthongbaht Meephan, deputy chief of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, told Reuters.

Elephants pose for a photo after they played soccer during an anti-gambling campaign for school children in Ayutthaya.

Elephants Play Soccer in Thailand Ahead of World Cup As Part of Anti-Gambling Campaign