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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
But while finally ending their European trophy drought is a massive incentive in its own right, Stade have another equally important reason to finish the year as Amlin Challenge Cup winners.
Victory over Clermont Auvergne this evening and against Munster or Harlequins in three weeks' time would give Stade what they want, what they really, really want: a passage back into the Heineken Cup.
With their chances of qualifying for Europe's premier club competition through the Top 14 now officially over, winning the Amlin is now the only way in which Stade will be back among the big boys next term.
And with so much unfinished Heineken Cup business to deal with, head coach Michael Cheika admits his side are desperate to earn the right to compete at the very top once more.
"This is our only chance get into the Heineken Cup," said Cheika, who guided Leinster to European gold two seasons ago.
"We can't make it in the Top 14 so this is our only chance. It doesn't add any pressure, though - imagine if we didn't have that opportunity. I suppose it's the old glass half full analogy, we're lucky to have that opportunity that we wouldn't have if it wasn't for the Amlin.
"You have to be grounded. This is a good shot of humility for teams who've been up there in the Heineken Cup before. We've got to earn this now.
"If we deserved to be in the Heineken Cup this year, we'd have been there. We didn't deserve to be there so we've got to respect the tournament that we're in.
"I love the Heineken Cup but this is it now, this my team and what we've got to do is try and get into a position where we can play in it next year."
Those sentiments are echoed by Cheika's assistant Chris Whitaker. The former Australia scrum-half was part of the victorious Leinster set up in 2009 and has seen first hand how important the tournament is to the Irish province.
And just as Leinster have developed a love affair with the tournament, so have Stade. It's an affair that Whitaker hopes his new side will be renewing next season.
"Leinster loved being in the Heineken Cup," added Whitaker.
"It's the highlight of the Irish teams' year. You can point out early in the year where the Heineken Cup fixtures are and there's a big focus that goes on them.
"You know it's Heineken Cup week because everything seems to change. The intensity seems to change.
"Every one wants to play in the Heineken. That's not saying the Amlin's not a great competition, but the Heineken is the pinnacle and everyone wants to be a part of it. Stade are no different. Everyone in this club would love to be back in the competition."