The difference between progressing straight into the group stage of the Europa League and having to negotiate a couple of qualifying rounds is considerable.
Some 16 teams are handed spots directly in the group stage, which includes two spots for clubs from England – one for finishing fifth in the Premier League and the other for winning the FA Cup.
For finishing sixth in the Premier League, the reward, or punishment whichever way it is viewed, is a place in a two-legged third qualifying round tie. Another two legs in the play-off round also need to be overcome before the group stage is reached.
Not only is the difference an extra four games in what is sure to already be a long season, but a return to training early, meaning a shorter break from which to recover from the past busy campaign.
The first legs of the third qualifying round are played on July 30th.
It was largely expected that Liverpool would be the team to finish fifth and Tottenham sixth, as the Reds held a one-point advantage and a superior goal difference heading into the final day of the season.
This would have meant a July return to action for Spurs and could have possibly involved a 7,000-mile round trip to Russia.
The only way for any team finishing sixth to avoid this would be if the FA Cup winner had already qualified for Europe via alternate means.
Arsenal face Aston Villa in the Wembley showpiece and the Gunners are already in the Champions League on account of finishing third in the Premier League.
So if Arsenal win the FA Cup, the team finishing sixth instantly get promoted to the Europa League group stage. It was a real possibility that Tottenham would profit from cheering arch rivals Arsenal on against Aston Villa for their own benefit next season.
Thankfully for many Spurs fans, their victory at Everton, while Liverpool were thrashed at Stoke means that it is Brendan Rodgers’ men that now should be hoping for an Arsenal success at Wembley.
It is 1.30 that Arsenal lift the FA Cup.
Should this happen, Southampton would also get the chance to compete in the Europa League, taking the spot in the third qualifying round for finishing seventh in the final Premier League table.