24 top flight clubs from six countries compete in the Heineken Cup.
These will include a minimum of:
France: 6 clubs (selected by performance in Top 14 Championship)
England: 6 clubs (selected by performance in Aviva Premiership and LV=Cup)
Wales: 3 clubs (selected by performance in RaboDirect Pro12)
Ireland: 3 clubs (selected by performance in RaboDirect Pro12)
Scotland: 2 clubs (nominated by Scottish Rugby)
Italy: 2 clubs (nominated by FIR )
The Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup winners qualify automatically for the following season's Heineken Cup and earn an extra Heineken Cup spot for their countries - over and above their guaranteed allocations.
However, England and France, who have six automatic places, will only be allowed a maximum of seven clubs. So if either country wins both the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, then the second additional spot will pass on to the club with the highest ERC European Ranking who has not already qualified, from any of the other five nations.
See the league tables from around Europe:
Tickets for Pool matches and quarter-finals will be available through the participating clubs. Contact details for the Ticket Offices of each club are available in the 'Club Section'.
View a list of club contacts:
Tickets for semi-finals will be available through the participating clubs and for selected Heineken Cup semi-finals a public sale allocation may also be made available.
See ercrugby.com for updates once the semi-final pairings are known.
View a list of club contacts:
Public sale tickets for the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals can go on sale up to 12 months in advance. See the Finals 2014 section for ticket prices and where they can be purchased. Due to the high demand for tickets supporters are advised to buy early to avoid disappointment.
For the Heineken Cup final an allocation of approximately 10,000 tickets is reserved to be shared by the finalists clubs and these distributed by the clubs directly.
Souvenir match programmes are produced by ERC for the Heineken Cup semi-finals and finals and for the Amlin Challenge Cup final.
To purchase programmes from the 2013 finals visit:
The process of confirming the fixtures for the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup begins after the pool draws which take place in June each season.
The pool fixtures are confirmed in mid-July following a scheduling process which includes consultation with the 44 participant European clubs, league bodies and broadcast partners across each territory.
ERC is challenged with producing a balanced and fair schedule which takes into account club preferences, venue restrictions at many shared stadia, date requests associated with moves to larger venues as well as ensuring our broadcasters across Europe can carry as many compelling matches as possible from Thursday evening through to Sunday. This means that on some occasions some clubs will have a slightly longer turnaround than others, but this will usually balance out across the campaign and ensures the competitions get the best possible opportunity to develop.
The dates and kick-off times for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Heineken Cup are announced directly after the Round 4 weekend in December.
The fixtures are confirmed and announced at this stage with the objective of ensuring the clubs and tournament gets the best possible exposure through live broadcast coverage of as many of the key qualification deciders as possible. ERC works with its broadcast partners in the UK, France, Ireland and Italy to confirm a schedule showcasing the Pool deciders from Friday evening through to Sunday. The weekends for these fixtures are available from Mid-July.
ERC tournaments are played in accordance with the IRB's Laws of the Game of Rugby Union (as amended from time to time), as varied or supplemented by ERC through thethe Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Participation Agreements.