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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The five Tier 1 teams - Stade Français Paris, Gloucester Rugby, Sale Sharks, Bourgoin and Harlequins - were kept apart as the 20 teams who have qualified for the 2010/11 competition were graded into four Tiers of five teams with each of the five Pools having one team from each of the four Tier levels.
This year's competition features five sides who took part in last season's Heineken Cup - Stade Français Paris, Gloucester, Sale, Brive and Harlequins. Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs, who won promotion to the Guinness Premiership last month, will be making their European bow when they face Montpellier, Bourgoin, who were Amlin Challenge Cup runners up in 2009, and another English club, Newcastle Falcons, in Pool 3.
Only Connacht remain from last season's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finalists, with the Irish province looking to match their unbeaten run to the last four when they take on Harlequins, Bayonne and Cavalieri Prato from Italy in Pool 1.
France have seven clubs in the tournament so Pool 3 features two French representatives in Bougoin and Montpellier, while Pool 5 features Agen and debutants, La Rochelle. Pool 3 also has two English clubs in Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs.
The draw was conducted using the merit-based ERC European Ranking system compiled on the qualified teams' performances over the past four seasons in the Heineken Cup and knock-out stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP 2010/11 POOLS
POOL 1: Harlequins, Connacht Rugby, Bayonne, Cavalieri Prato
POOL 2: Sale Sharks, Brive, Petrarca Rugby, Cetransa El Salvador
POOL 3: Bourgoin, Newcastle Falcons, Montpellier, Exeter Chiefs
POOL 4: Stade Francais Paris, Rugby Parma, Leeds Carnegie, Bucuresti Oaks
POOL 5: Gloucester Rugby, Agen, Rugby Rovigo, La Rochelle
THE TIERS (with ERC European Ranking points):
16 - Stade Français Paris
12 - Gloucester Rugby
9 - Sale Sharks
8 - Bourgoin
7 - Harlequins
6 - Newcastle Falcons
4 - Brive
4 - Connacht Rugby
3 - Agen
1 - Rugby Parma
1 - Leeds Carnegie
1 - Montpellier
Cetransa El Salvador
AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP 2010/11 FIXTURES
ROUND 1 - 7/8/9/10 October, 2010
ROUND 2 - 14/15/16/17 October, 2010
ROUND 3 - 9/10/11/12 December, 2010
ROUND 4 - 16/17/18/19 December, 2010
ROUND 5 - 13/14/15/16 January, 2011
ROUND 6 - 20/21/22/23 January, 2011
QUARTER-FINALS - 8/9/10 April, 2011
SEMI-FINALS - 30 April/1 May, 2011
AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP FINAL - 20/21/22 May, 2011