SLIGO ROVERS could be the unlikely beneficiaries of a Porto victory tonight, with a possibility that success for the clear favourites will put the Bit O'Red into next year's competition at the potentially lucrative third qualifying-round stage.
As it stands, Paul Cook's side are set to join the 2011/12 competition at the second qualifying round as the 29th-ranked domestic cup winner. The cup winners ranked 16-28 join at the third-round stage.
However, if Porto -- who have already qualified for the Champions League -- win the trophy, then their automatically earned berth in the Europa League group stages will be vacated.
One possible eventuality of that is a domino effect which will result in Sligo moving up a place from 29th to 28th and arriving at the third-round stage -- the point where Shamrock Rovers drew Italian giants Juventus early in this season's competition.
Sligo have been in contact with the FAI, but Abbotstown sources have cautioned that UEFA will not confirm their plans until a meeting next month.
The FAI feel that a more likely scenario is an alteration in the size of the second round.