The dramatic rise and swift fall of European Super League: A timeline of all that happened

All that happened in a dramatic last 72 hours in the footballing world, which saw it collapse and start to rise back to its feet again.

12 European clubs that had signed up for it on Sunday and by Wednesday, almost all had backed out- AP

Plans for a Super League of Europe's top soccer clubs, which was drawn up in secrecy over several months, stunned fans, players and politicians when news about it broke on Sunday. Yet by Wednesday, the new league's last rites was already being read.

The intervening hours was filled with a cacophony of criticism stretching from the stands to the pitches, and from the dressing rooms right up to the corridors of political power.

Below is a timeline of the outcry that erupted between Sunday lunchtime, when news of the plan first emerged, until the project was effectively declared dead on Wednesday morning.

SUNDAY, APRIL 18

As weekend football fixtures played across Europe, Italy's Corriere dello Sport reported that a group of top European clubs was planning a breakaway Super League. The news emerged a day before UEFA met to discuss reforms to the existing pan-European tournament, the Champions League.

There was no immediate confirmation from Super League. The full list of clubs involved was still not yet clear. But condemnation of the idea started to gather momentum.

UEFA, in a joint statement with English, Spanish and Italian leagues and federations, described it as a "cynical project founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever."

Europe's political leaders quickly weighed in. French President Emmanuel Macron praised French clubs for staying out and promised "to protect the integrity of federal competitions, whether national or European."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the plan was "very damaging" and those involved "must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps."

Early voices from the touch line did not bode well. Former Manchester United captain and respected pundit Gary Neville laid into club owners behind the plan: "It's pure greed, they're imposters."

ALSO READ | European Super League: What is it, who's joining; why is FIFA, UEFA against it

OVERNIGHT SUNDAY-MONDAY, APRIL 18-19

Overnight, the Super League confirmed its plan. It named the 12 founding clubs: Italy's AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, Spain's Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and England's Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. No clubs from Germany or France was involved.

"The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid," the Super League said, adding that it was ready for talks with UEFA and FIFA.

Crucially, details was revealed that confirmed the 12 clubs, along with a further three, would be guaranteed a place in what would be a 20-team league - a non-competitive aspect that outraged fans.

MONDAY, APRIL 19

Super League founders' statement said they represent "billions of fans across the globe". But the reaction from the terraces told a different story.

"This is a decision of greed to line the pockets of those at the top and it has been made with no consideration for the loyal supporters, our history, our future and the future of football in this country," the Chelsea Supporters' Trust says.

Spain's La Liga called the plan "selfish" and "egotistical".

Amid the growing maelstrom, details of work behind the project emerge, as Wall Street investment bank JP Morgan confirmed it would provide financing. Meanwhile, shares in listed clubs involved in the new league surged, while those outside slipped.

But opposition moved up a gear, as Britain's government said it will consider "absolutely everything" to stop the plan in its tracks. The Super League's finances also started looking less secure, European broadcasters criticised the move and Spanish Mediapro said broadcasters won't break contracts with UEFA.

Usually reticent royals even chimed in. The second in line to Britain's throne, Prince William, wrote on Twitter: "I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love."

Equally worrying for the new league, players were lining up against the plan. Paris St-Germain's Ander Herrera said the Super League would mean "dreams are over" for fans hoping for proper competition. Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes wrote "dreams can't be bought".

On the pitch, Leeds players wore shirts with a slogan in protest ahead of their Monday's Premier League clash with Liverpool and hung a banner in the ground that says: "Earn it on the pitch".

But showing the secrecy that surrounded the Super League project, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said his players shouldn't be blamed: "We were not involved in any processes, not the players, not me. We didn't know about it," said the German.

ALSO READ | La Liga rejects 'egotistical' Super League

TUESDAY, APRIL 20

Another body blow was landed when Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola launched a stinging attack on the concept. "It is not fair when one team fight, fight, fight, arrive at the top and cannot qualify because success is already guaranteed just for a few teams," he said. "It is not sport if you can't lose."

The potential fallout went up another level as FIFA President Gianni Infantino told the 12 clubs "either you are in, or you are out", threatening to ban them and its players from domestic and international competition.

The company set up to run the Super League project obtained a Spanish court ruling it hoped would have prevented UEFA and FIFA from trying to stop the league.

Meanwhile, Britain's government warned it will consider legislation to halt the plan and whispers emerged that the project was starting to fray.

The BBC reported that Chelsea was the first to waver, leading demonstrating fans to cheer and celebrate outside their club's London ground. The Sun tabloid followed up with a report that Manchester City was also getting cold feet and, later on Tuesday, it became the first founding club to confirm its departure.

Second thoughts in England spread across the continent. Spanish media suggested Barcelona's participation was still conditional on a vote in favour by its club members.

Within a crazy 15 minutes late on Tuesday, the remaining four English clubs pulled out, some saying it had "listened to the fans."

ALSO READ | Players hit out at breakaway European Super League

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21

By Wednesday morning, the Super League looked doomed. Italian and Spanish clubs joined fellow English founders of the project and started pulling out.

Juventus boss Andrea Agnelli said he was still convinced the plan "has beauty" but then deliversed the final, fatal blow when he told Reuters: "I don't think that that project is now still up and running."

When club owners and others who backed the plan finally started speaking up, the tone was one of buyer's remorse.

The principal owner of Liverpool, John Henry, summed up the contrite mood in his video apology for the chaos caused, saying: "It's something I won't forget. And shows the power the fans have today and will rightly continue to have."

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