The fall of the European Super League began shortly after it emerged and the domino effect will continue until the last piece collapses.
The project has dominated the football world this week and in the space of 72 hours has gone from threatening to radically change the game to almost completely disintegrating.
Here we recap the rapid rise and fall of this doomed breakaway project.
Florentino Perez’s meetings
It’s hard to pinpoint the origin of a plan that has been talked about in various quarters for many years, but we can trace this current episode back to a meeting held last week in a discrete Madrid location.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the brains and face of the European Super League operation, met with Miguel Angel Gil, CEO of Atletico Madrid, a senior representative of Tottenham Hotspur and Anas Laghari, a partner in Key Capital, the investment fund behind the project.
Perez was determined to proceed no matter what and his desire is for the new Bernabeu stadium to host more than a couple of big European games per year.
He felt the announcement had to be made before UEFA confirmed their new Champions League format and he got Gil Martin on board by telling him it was either Atleti or Sevilla.
Laporta in Madrid
Barcelona president Joan Laporta also met with Perez late last week and, while wanting to run the issue by club members, he followed his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu by backing Perez’s plans.
Along with the fear of missing out felt by many of the clubs involved, Laporta saw in the Super League a readymade solution to the Blaugrana’s financial problems.
By Saturday the key documents were already being exchanged and the presidents of the 12 clubs held a video conference via Zoom.
UEFA got wind of the plot and Aleksander Ceferin called Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who lied to him by playing the situation down as mere rumours.
Sunday morning was the deadline set to hand in all the paperwork and all 12 clubs confirm their participation, although Manchester City had the most doubts.
The group had failed to convince either Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain to get on board but are nonetheless determined to proceed.
Their objective was to make the announcement and first, then secure public support and finally win the inevitable legal battles.
By early afternoon the news had leaked, with The Times and MARCA revealing the impending announcement, and governing bodies such as UEFA and national federations respond pre-emptively.
There were some nerves by this point amongst the Super League 12, with the English clubs anxious to go public before Monday, and the official announcement finally game at 00:20 (CET) after the release had been redrafted 26 times.
Statements began appearing on each club’s website, just half a day before UEFA were due to publish their Champions League reforms.
The earthquake begins
Ten minutes before going public, the newly-created legal entity contacted the courts in Madrid with the aim of blocking potential sanctions and ensuring that any disputes would be resolved in Spain, not Switzerland.
By Monday morning every corner of football world had been shook and threats came from UEFA and even politicians.
LaLiga Santander clubs wasted no time in releasing their own statements, robustly critcising the plans and they are joined by clubs elsewhere, such as Leeds, and some players, including Ander Herrera and James Milner.
On Monday night Florentino Perez appeared on El Chiringuito as the first Super League representative to make a public appearance, but his message about saving football and needing money only fuelled the flames of rejection amongst its opponents.
The image of Chelsea fans protesting before their team’s game against Brighton on Tuesday was an iconic moment in the Super League’s downfall and highlighted that, at least in England, there was no appetite for the new competition.
Players from clubs involved were largely silent, but some liked criticism of the plans on social media.
Perez’s last appearance
On Tuesday Perez still maintained that no one would abandon the European Super League, but hours later clubs were backtracking, first of all Manchester City and before the day was out all six English clubs had pulled out.
By Wednesday afternoon Inter and Atletico Madrid had followed suit and AC Milan did likewise at around 13:30 (CET).
Juventus later admitted defeat, while still backing the idea, as only they, Real Madrid and Barcelona were left standing.
In just 72 hours the epic project had been sunk.