Cardiff Blue Gethin Jenkins outside the Millennium Stadium with the Amlin and Heineken Cups.
The Heineken Cup will be returning to its spiritual home when the final of the world's most competitive club rugby tournament is staged in Cardiff next year.
ERC's 2014 finals are set to go ahead in the Welsh capital with the Amlin Challenge Cup final played at the Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, 23 May 2014 and the 19th Heineken Cup showpiece event staged the following day at the 74,500-capacity Millennium Stadium.
The Welsh Rugby Union, with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and local partners, was awarded the ERC finals following a competitive bid process and that decision creates a major opportunity to build on the city's rich Heineken Cup heritage after the highly successful staging of the two finals in 2011 when ERC's unique weekend festival of rugby generated a direct financial dividend of £24 million for Cardiff.
The Welsh capital is steeped in European club rugby history as the first two Heineken Cup tournament finals were played at the Cardiff Arms Park in 1996 and 1997, with Cardiff reaching the inaugural decider only to lose to Toulouse who have since gone on to win the coveted trophy on three more occasions.
Four Heineken Cup finals have been played to date at the world-class Millennium Stadium with the most recent decider two years ago producing a classic European contest when Leinster Rugby defeated Northampton Saints with a dramatic second-half comeback.
Next year, ERC's highly popular European Champions Village will once again provide a focal point in the heart of Cardiff for fans to savour the unique atmosphere of a major European club rugby occasion.
Speaking at today's announcement in Cardiff, ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath, said: "With fans from all corners of Europe set to travel to Wales next May, we see Cardiff as a hugely appealing setting for the finals weekend which has developed into one of the great events in Europe's sporting calendar. We will be working with the WRU, the Welsh Assembly Government, Visit Wales and Cardiff City Council to ensure that all supporters will enjoy a thoroughly positive experience.
"Cardiff has been the setting for some of the great finals in the past and in many ways, European club rugby is returning home. I have no doubt that the 2014 weekend at the Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium will be yet another celebration of all that is good about European club rugby."
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen to again host the next Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
"We know from experience that it will be a fantastic rugby occasion and a great opportunity for Cardiff and Wales to welcome tens of thousands of supporters.
"We will work closely with Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government to make this yet another great event which will deliver millions of pounds into the wider South Wales economy and this is great news at this challenging economic period in our history. "There is something special about a Heineken Cup final and our events team at the stadium has a well-deserved reputation for ensuring that we deliver a spectacular atmosphere."
John Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Culture and Sport, said: "I'm delighted that ERC has chosen Wales, and the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park, to host next year's finals and we look forward to welcoming the supporters and teams to Wales once again.
"The very nature of this event, with travelling supporters staying in the area for one night or more, means that the Heineken Cup final is by some distance the most economically lucrative single-day major event Wales has ever hosted."
Tickets for the finals will go on sale in early September and following the huge demand for last season's innovative offering which included tickets for both matches and passes to local tourist attractions, ERC is working with its partners in Cardiff to develop a similar two-final European club rugby festival package for 2014.
The Heineken Cup final is broadcast in over 150 countries worldwide and players from as many as 12 nations were involved in the 2013 showpiece game between Toulon and ASM Clermont Auvergne.
ERC's second tournament, the Amlin Challenge Cup, continues to grow in stature highlighted by the pedigree of clubs such as Leinster Rugby, Biarritz Olympique, Harlequins and Cardiff Blues who have won the title in recent seasons.
FINALS - CARDIFF 2014
Amlin Challenge Cup - Cardiff Arms Park; Friday, 23 May 2014 (20.00)
Heineken Cup - Millennium Stadium; Saturday, 24 May 2014 (17.00)
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event