After failing to receive a satisfactory reply to the letter sent by the EBU to the Ukrainian government, the Reference Group has decided that it is no longer suitable to hold the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kyiv. The Reference Group are now in an emergency meeting to discuss options.
The controversy surrounding the Russian participation in this year’s Eurovision has been kept anything but quiet. Previously, we reported that the Security Service of Ukraine had banned the Russian participant, Yulia Samoylova from entering Ukraine. This was after they discovered that she had illegally travelled to Russian-annexed Crimea to perform. The EBU has shown that it is on the side of the Russian participant, after the EBU chief described Ukraine’s behaviour as “utterly unacceptable“. A Ukrainian newspaper also leaked an angry letter from the EBU chief to the Ukrainian Prime Minister. Moments ago, the Reference Group made the decision to take hosting privileges away from Ukraine.
A statement released by the EBU says:
“It is with sincere regret that we have decided to move the contest away from Ukraine. This is due to the organisational issues in Kyiv, and the confusion surrounding the ban on the Russian participant. There have been few developments, and there were great concerns that the contest would not be ready by May. We also are yet to receive a satisfactory response from the Ukrainian government on the matter of Ms Samoylova’s participation. We felt that we needed to take pressure from the Ukrainian broadcaster and the Ukrainian government. Therefore, we will be giving the hosting rights to another country.”
Pressure From Other Broadcasters
The idea of taking the contest away from Ukraine was originally only a suggestion. However, it has been reported that pressure from BBC, TVE, DR, and Channel One Russia led to the suggestion being accepted quicker than expected.
Despite the above broadcasters being the main ones pressuring the EBU to make this decision, it seems that none of them are likely to receive hosting privileges. The EBU are considering Stockholm and Düsseldorf as the preferred cities for the emergency re-allocation due to infrastructure and having hosted not too long ago. SVT and ARD/NDR are yet to give an indication of their willingness to accept the contest at such a late stage.
What Will Change?
The EBU have released no information yet about how much of Kyiv 2017 that the new host city will keep. However, we expect that aspects such as the logo, stage design, and hosts are likely to stay the same. The move also means that controversy surrounding the Russian participation is over, and Yulia Samoylova will represent Russia wherever the contest goes. It is currently unknown if Ukraine will receive sanctions, as the EBU have previously threatened.
Have you seen the date?
Of course, today is April 1 and if you made it this far believing the story, it is indeed an April fool! In the UK, it is said that making an April Fool’s joke after 12pm is unlucky so it is now that we are declaring this story to be entirely false.
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