The controversial European Super League (ESL) breakaway soccer project has faced its latest legal setback after the European Union’s trademark authority prevented it from registering its name as it is already owned by Danish soccer’s top-tier Superliga.

The Danish top-flight (Superligaen A/S) is known as the 3F Superliga for sponsorship reasons and its trademark is owned jointly by its constituent Danish clubs.

This is already a registered trademark in the EU with the trademark authority giving it approval to continue, effectively ending the ESL’s ability to operate under 'The Super League' moniker.

The ESL can, of course, appeal the decision, although it has not stated whether or not it will, however, if that too fails then the body will have no other option but to change its name entirely.

Claus Thomsen, chief executive of the Danish Superliga, stated: “We are very happy that the EU's trademark authority has agreed that the trademark 'The Super League' in the EU will violate the value that the Danish clubs have invested in 3F Superliga.”

Danish soccer, as with much of the rest of Europe, stood firmly against the European Super League from its inception, arguing that its initial 12 clubs, hailing from England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s LaLiga, were committing cartel behavior to preserve revenues and effectively place themselves at a different exclusive tier to the rest of European soccer.

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Thomsen continued: “We have always been against the big clubs' desire for a new European league. We believe there must be openness and qualification for international club tournaments via national competitions. Football should not be a closed party for clubs that do not dare to participate in an open competition, so of course we are extra happy about this victory outside the pitch.”

The ESL has been embattled since its inception with opposition to its existence from all sides. In December 2023, however, it scored a major win over European and international soccer governing bodies UEFA and FIFA, when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the two acted unlawfully by blocking clubs from joining the ESL.