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Premier League giants Arsenal order Berlin futsal team to change name

Members of Arsenal Berlin, who changing their name to Berlin City Futsal, in their previous kit.

A Berlin-based futsal club has been forced to change its name from Arsenal Berlin after a legal intervention by the Premier League side that inspired their name.

After seven years as Arsenal Berlin, the club was ordered to change its name by a Hamburg-based law firm acting on behalf of London giants Arsenal, and will now be known as Berlin City Futsal.

It means the 24-member club also has to change its logos and website.

Arsenal had argued that their reputation and worldwide name recognition is down to significant investment in advertising campaigns as well as on-pitch success, meaning the brand needed protection.

The London club argued that could be put at risk if they tolerated smaller clubs having very similar names.

"The methods are excessive," Arsenal Berlin founder Jorg Meinhardt told ESPN FC.

"The idea that we could have a negative influence on Arsenal's business operations is remarkable."

The club has created a new logo for the name change.

Meinhardt, the author of a book on futsal training and the advantages of the sport for football, explained that he had come up with the name at the turn of the decade.

"I was in London and visited the Emirates," he said. "I did the tour of the museum and the fan shop.

"I didn't have time to do the guided Emirates tour, but a fan shop employee gave me a 20-minute walk through the stadium.

"I was already a fan of the club, and this event made me opt for the name Arsenal Berlin."

Despite winning the 2013 Berlin Futsal Championship and finishing second this term, the club still play to small crowds and pay for their hobby themselves, Meinhardt added.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.


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