Premiership Rugby has confirmed that the top six teams of the 2011/12 Aviva Premiership will qualify for the 2012/13 Heineken Cup tournament.
With two rounds of the Premiership to go, five of the top six finishers are confirmed with Exeter Chiefs qualifying for the Heineken Cup for the first time.
"The boys are elated and it's a fantastic achievement to qualify for the Heineken Cup," said Exeter head coach Rob Baxter.
The other four qualifiers are Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, Saracens and Northampton Saints with the battle for the sixth and final place set to go down to the wire.
While Exeter Chiefs will make their tournament debut as the 97th club to compete in European club rugby's premier competition - and the 13th English club - former double winners Leicester Tigers will take part for the 16th time.
Northampton Saints, the champions in 2000, will be there for the 11th time, Harlequins for a 10th campaign and Saracens for a seventh season.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.