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Supermodel Naomi Campbell. Picture: Reuters

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has accepted "substantial" libel damages in a British court over a false story that she was planning to organise an elephant polo match in India for her partner's birthday.

Her lawyer, Gideon Benaim, told a judge in London's High Court that the article in Britain's Daily Telegraph last November reported "detailed criticisms made of these plans by the animal rights group PETA, who were said to have launched a personal attack on Ms Campbell for promoting animal cruelty".

Benaim told Justice Eady that the story was "simply false and the criticisms unfounded" - there were never any plans for an elephant polo tournament at the 50th birthday celebrations in Jodhpur.

Campbell, 42, was not present in court, but said in a statement: "There were never plans to hold an elephant polo tournament, so the allegations should not have been published.

"However, I am glad that the matter has been resolved and I accept the newspaper's apology."

Benaim said readers of the newspaper were told that elephant polo was cruel and depended upon "violent abuse" of the animals by the trainers, and that they were "constantly kept in chains" and "driven insane" by their treatment.

Campbell had "neither organised nor requested the organisation of any such tournament".

Her action was brought against Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the Daily Telegraph.

Benaim told the judge: "Regrettably, the defendant's journalists made no effort to contact Ms Campbell in advance of publishing this story: had they done so they would have been told that the story was untrue."

Campbell's lawyers had contacted the paper on November 3, 2012 to request that the story be taken down from its website and that an apology and correction be published, the court was told.

"However, the defendant failed to take the article down for a day and a half, and the story was republished widely in the Indian press and elsewhere, including over the internet, attracting a storm of adverse publicity against Ms Campbell."

The paper, through its solicitor, agreed to apologise publicly for the article and pay damages as well as Campbell's legal costs.

The damages sum was not disclosed in court.