European Super League: How plans for the breakaway competition began to unravel in just 48 hours

Credit: PA

All six English football clubs that had planned to join the European Super League have pulled out following fierce criticism across the board.

In a little over 48 hours after the plans were announced, they began to unravel. Here's how the extraordinary events unfolded.

  • Sunday 18 April - The big six confirm involvement in the breakaway league

Sunday evening - Late on Sunday night, England's top football clubs confirmed their involvement in the breakaway European Super League.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham all announced they were signed up to the controversial plan.

The plan – which also includes the Spanish sides Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan – would see the breakaway teams create a competition to rival the Champions League, but it would not feature relegation or promotion.

It has support from investment bank JP Morgan, which will provide debt financing for the competition. It is understood it will underwrite around six billion US dollars (£4.3 billion) in loans for teams involved.

By 8:30pm on Sunday criticism had already started to flood in, not least from the Prime Minister who said the plans "would be very damaging" and "would strike at the heart of the domestic game".

  • Monday 19 April - The footballing world and beyond reacts

Monday morning - Footballing authorities had already slammed the proposal.

Uefa President Aleksander Čeferin said any player participating in the European Super League would "not be allowed play for their national teams”.

The body issued a strong statement jointly with English, Spanish and Italian leagues and football federations, saying they were ready to use "all measures" to confront any breakaway and saying any participating clubs would be banned from domestic leagues, such as the Premier League

FIFA expressed its "disapproval to a "closed European breakaway league outside of the international football structures".

Monday late morning - Boris Johnson commits to blocking the formation of a European Super League in the way it is currently being proposed.

Speaking to reporters during a campaign visit to Gloucestershire he said: "we're going to look at everything that we can do" to halt the plan.

Monday afternoon - The Prime Minister's pledge is backed up by culture and sports secretary Oliver Dowden, who told the Commons the government is working with football authorities to ensure the plans do not go ahead as planned.

Mr Dowden said that if the sport was unable to act, then ministers were prepared to step in to protect the national game.

"Be in no doubt, if they can’t act, we will. We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening," he said.

Monday early evening - The Duke of Cambridge, president of the FA, waded in on the criticism.

In a tweet, Prine William said: "I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love."

Monday evening - With Liverpool in action at Leeds on Monday night, fans of both clubs gathered outside Elland Road before kick-off.

A plane flew overhead with a banner reading “Say No To Super League” as supporters came out in force against the plans.

At Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, fans displayed a banner reading “Created by the poor, stolen by the rich”.

In a video on Twitter, ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright called out the Gunners for becoming a founder club: "I literally can’t believe it when I saw Arsenal’s name come up on the screen as one of the teams. It is shameful."

Many fans are against the proposals. Credit: PA

Big names from the sport used commentary time ahead of the game to voice their anger at the move.

Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher said he believed supporters and those within football can stop the Super League getting off the ground.

"My message to everyone is that these clubs think this is a done deal, I don’t think it is," he said.

While former Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports he was "enthused by the reaction of government, by royalty, by the whole of football and by the fans".

Tuesday 20 April - Two clubs back out amid scathing criticism

Tuesday morning - The day began with more criticism from the sporting world.

The International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach warned the European sports model was "under threat" by the move.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said his organisation strongly disapproved of the Super League plans.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin is not a fan of the European Super League. Credit: AP

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin addressed the English breakaway clubs directly: "Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake."

Crucially, Ceferin opened the option of a U-turn: "What matters is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes."

Tuesday midday - Boris Johnson emerged from a round-table meeting with representatives from the Football Association, Premier League and football fan groups.

The PM warned football authorities no action by the government “is off the table” in seeking to block the breakaway league.

Leeds players wearing ‘Football Is For The Fans’ shirts during the warm up for their Premier League match with Liverpool Credit: Clive Brunskill/PA

Tuesday early afternoon - Manchester City's Pep Guardiola speaks out on the plans.

The manager told a press conference he felt uncomfortable being asked about the competition because he did not yet know much more than the initial statement.

"It is a little uncomfortable for us. We don’t have all the information. Once we have all the information, I will give my opinion," he said.

Meanwhile Real Madrid’s president, Fiorentino Perez, defended the proposal.

Speaking on Spanish talk show El Chiringuito de Jugones de Mega, Perez became the first from the boards of any of the 12 clubs involved to speak publicly since the announcement on Sunday.

“This is for the sake of football,” he said.

Tuesday 6:47pm - News breaks that Chelsea FC is preparing to withdraw from the Super League.

ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott tweets the breaking development.

The news comes as fans, once again, gather outside the club - chanting and letting off flares.

Tuesday 7:13pm - A second club pulls out as Manchester City withdraw.

ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott confirms Man City are the second club to U-turn on its decision to join the European Super League.

The news is met with jubilation by fans and sporting figures.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Tuesday night said the government’s review of football will still happen, even if the European Super League fails to get off the ground.

Tuesday 10.55pm - The remaining English clubs pull out

In statements on their Twitter accounts, the remaining four English clubs - Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham - announce they will not be joining the European Super League.The tweet from Arsenal said: "We made a mistake, and we apologise for it."