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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Newcastle Falcons have drawn Brive, Cetransa El Salvador and Overmach Parma in the 2008/9 European Challenge Cup.
Bates, fresh from coaching England Saxons to Churchill Cup glory this weekend, said: "We have always enjoyed competitive matches against Brive, and I am sure this season will be no different.
"Cetransa El Salvador are a side we are familiar with after our two games against them last year, while Overmach Parma will represent a new challenge which we are looking forward to."
Having reached the semi-finals last year, Bates added: "The European Challenge Cup is a tournament with significant interest for us, and as always we will be going all out to win the competition."