"Ireland and the Irish teams have played key roles in the birth and development of the Heineken Cup," he said.
"Munster, Leinster and Ulster were there at the start in 1995 when Ireland was one of the five countries - France, Wales, Italy and Romania were the others - who took part in the first Heineken Cup.
"Since then Ulster have won the trophy in 1999 and Munster have reached the 2000 and 2002 finals. That is a measure of the Irish contribution on the field.
"Leinster have set record attendances for both a Pool match and a quarter-final. And when it comes to neutral venues, Munster's fantastic travelling support have contributed to record crowds for both a semi-final and a Heineken Cup final, the latter that marvellous match against Leicester Tigers at the Millennium Stadium.
"The contributions from the Irish teams and Irish rugby have been truly immense over the last nine years and I'm sure our 10th anniversary season will again see Irish teams at the heart of the tournament."