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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Ireland is reaping the reward of promoting itself as a great sporting venue and events like the Special Olympics, Ryder Cup 2008, and of course the Grand Slam showdown between Ireland and England, showcase our nation.
Hosting the Heineken Cup final is on a par with those great events and will give Dubliners the chance to show the visiting French fans how appreciative and supportive they can be of great sporting events. The game between Toulouse and Perpignan may be an all-French affair, but it will also be a truly international occasion.
The game will give the sports loving Irish public the chance to join in the fun and adopt one of the two teams that knocked-out our own gallant challengers for this great title, Munster and Leinster Lions, at Lansdowne Road. It promises to be a day not to be missed.
The global television exposure that Dublin will receive from hosting the game will be amazing, the benefit to the hotels, shops, restaurants and bars will run into millions of euros and the general feel-good factor of hosting a major European sporting occasion is bound to provide the whole city with a boost.
Ireland has never hosted a major European soccer cup final and, as competition increases to host the Heineken Cup final and semi-finals, this could be one of the last chances for some time for the locals to attend an event of this stature.
Whatever happens on 24 May there will be a smile on French faces. They are guaranteed a great time in Dublin and will be taking back to France the most prestigious club trophy in world rugby. But there should also be a smile on Irish faces given the huge benefits the event will bring to the tourist industry.