This reminds me that I once devised an alternate way to organise European international club football competitions. It is of the most passing theoretical interest only. However, my LJ is an ideal repository for whimsies like this; if I can get this down from paper into digits then I can recycle the sheet of paper without worrying about losing the information. It's not intended to be at all serious, by the way.
52 nations in Europe submit teams to the unified European football competition. These nations are ordered by the UEFA Ranking List. The top four nations each submit seven teams, drawn from a mixture of cup competition winners and domestic league leaders. (Total: 28). The second four nations each submit six teams. (Running total: 52). Nations 9 to 12 each submit five teams. (Running total: 72.) Nations 13 to 20 each submit four teams. (Running total: 104.) Nations 21 to 32 each submit three teams. (Running total: 140.) Nations 33 to 52 each submit two teams. Total: 180.
Stage one: allocation of teams to divisions. This is a four-phase stage.
Phase one: the champions of the top 24 nations play against each other. This generates 12 winners who play in the Top Division. The 12 losers advance to phase two.
Phase two: 12 from phase one are accompanied by the 12 second-place and 12 third-place finishers from the top 12 nations and the 12 champions of nations 25 to 36 for a total of 48 teams. This generates 24 winners who play in the Second Division. The 24 losers advance to phase three.
Phase three: 24 from phase two are accompanied by 16 champions from nations 37 to 52, 40 second-place finishers from nations 13 to 52, 10 third-place finishers from nations 13 to 22 and 6 fourth-place finishers from nations 1 to 6 for a total of 96 teams. This generates 48 winners who play in the Third Division. The 48 losers advance to phase four.
Phase four: 48 from phase three are accompanied by 10 third-place finishers from nations 23 to 32, 14 fourth-place finishers from nations 7 to 20, 12 fifth-place finishers from nations 1 to 12, 8 sixth-place finishers from nations 1 to 8 and 4 seventh-place finishers from nations 1 to 4 for a total of 96 teams. This generates 48 winners who play in the Fourth Division. The 48 losers play in the Fifth Division.
Stage two: within each division, teams are allocated to parallel leagues of six. There are two such leagues in the first division, four in the second division and eight in each of the three lower divisions.
Teams in each league play each other home and away for a total of ten matches.
Stage three: the winners of each league (and, for the top two divisions, the second-place finishers in each league) enter into a single-elimination knockout competition to determine the champion of each division.
jiggery_pokery clone #14 will have the job of working out what a typical European football season might look like under such a proposal. The other clones will all have more important jobs to do.