2 months ago, we reported that the Chairman of the Eurovision Reference Group, Frank-Dieter Freiling, had suggested that the Russian and Ukrainian broadcasters were likely to face sanctions from the EBU. This was after the Russian participant was controversially banned from entering Ukraine for three years. Moments ago, the European Broadcasting Union have made good on at least part of that statement; the Ukrainian broadcaster will receive a large fine.
The fine comes after there were severe delays in the organisation of the song contest in May, and a lack of co-operation with the EBU on the Russian participation. An EBU spokesperson said:
“As a result of this, UA:PBC drew attention away from the competition and endangered the brand reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest.“
“Therefore the contest’s steering committee has recommended that UA:PBC should receive a substantial fine, in line with the rules of the competition.“
The EBU are yet to tell us how big this fine will be. All that is known is that it will be “large”.
This year’s Russian participation controversy
The Russian broadcaster, Channel One, announced on 12 March that Russia would be represented by Yulia Samoylova. However, only 10 days later, the Security Service of Ukraine revealed that they had banned Samoylova from entering Ukraine for three years, after they discovered that she had broken Ukrainian law by illegally travelled to Russian-annexed Crimea in 2015.
The EBU tried to create a compromise, with Samoylova performing remotely by satellite without entering Ukraine. However, the Russian and Ukraine broadcasters both rejected this proposal.
The Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand, also offered help. He proposed that Samoylova’s ban is enforced once the contest is over. But, other EBU members met this suggestion with disappointment and anger; they believed that both Russia and Ukraine were using the contest for political means.
On 13 April, Channel One announced that they would not take part in this year’s contest, nor would they broadcast it. Although, they have already stated that Samoylova will represent Russia at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Portugal.
What do you think of this? Is it fair that the EBU have fined the Ukrainian broadcaster? Do you think that the Russian broadcaster should also face some sort of penalty for their behaviour? Get involved in the comments below!