7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Tournament organisers ERC brought their traditional pre-season meeting of the elite clubs from nine European nations to Edinburgh for the first time to kick-start the countdown to the 10th anniversary season of the world's greatest club rugby tournament, the Heineken Cup.
"There are only 51 days to go to the kick-off of the 10th Heineken Cup campaign and judging by the reaction of all the clubs involved this could be the best ever competition," said ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux.
"London Wasps' chief executive David Davies proudly brought with him to Edinburgh the Heineken Cup trophy his team won so magnificently at Twickenham against Toulouse in May and the English champions will be looking to hold onto their crown at Murrayfield.
"Double winners Leicester Tigers will have a thing or two to say about that. They are drawn in the same Pool as Wasps, along with the powerful French outfit Biarritz Olympique and the Italian side Calvisano.
"Edinburgh Rugby Chief Executive Jim McKenzie got his hands on the Heineken Cup during the morning session and no doubt he will be conspiring with Frank Hadden, Todd Blackadder, Scott Murray and Chris Paterson to keep the trophy in Scotland for a much longer period by winning it on home soil in May.
"Edinburgh will at least have an advantage over everyone else this season in that Murrayfield will be their home ground in the Pool stages.
"If they continue their improvement of last season, when they became the first Scottish side to reach the quarter-finals, then maybe they could go all the way . . . back to Murrayfield!"
Tickets for the first Heineken Cup final to be held in Scotland will go on sale earlier than ever before and ERC are hoping to pack the home of Scottish Rugby for their annual showpiece.
"We had a crowd of 73,000 at Twickenham last season that delivered a record profit of Â£2m. That money will be used to boost the professional game across Europe," said ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath.
"The semi-finals and finals are big revenue earners for ERC and we are confident the decision to bring the historic 10th Heineken Cup final to Edinburgh will give us another positive return.
"We have already had a number of excellent planning meetings with Phil Anderton, and his team at the SRU, and we are also maintaining very close links with EventScotland to ensure that everyone maximises the benefit from staging European club rugby's premier event."
The 10th Heineken Cup tournament kicks-off on Friday, 22 October when Llanelli Scarlets host Toulouse at Stradey Park, Celtic Cup holders Ulster entertain Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill and Edinburgh Rugby launch their quest for European glory by travelling to Perpignan (all kick-off are 7.30pm local time).