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EBU statement : Eurovision “cannot be held in Ukraine”

The EBU, the international union organizing the Eurovision Song Contest, has just published a statement this morning regarding next year’s edition. The contest will not be held in Ukraine, and the EBU is now in touch with the BBC.

The full statement

The statement was published on the official website as well as on social media. It comes as the conclusion of discussions held between the EBU and UA:PBC, the Ukrainian broadcaster. Here is the full text :

Following their win at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May the EBU has been exploring options for the hosting of next year’s competition with Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC, who previously staged the event in 2017 and 2005.

It has become a well-known tradition that the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest hosts the competition the following year, providing certain criteria including ensuring the viability of staging the event and the safety of all stakeholders, including the public, are met.

Given the ongoing war since the Russian invasion of this year’s winning country, the EBU has taken the time to conduct a full assessment and feasibility study with both UA:PBC and third-party specialists including on safety and security issues.

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most complex TV productions in the world with thousands working on, and attending, the event and 12 months of preparation time needed.

Following objective analysis, the Reference Group, the ESC’s governing board, has with deep regret concluded that, given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC.

The EBU would like to thank UA:PBC for their wholehearted cooperation and commitment in exploring all scenarios in the weeks since Kalush Orchestra’s win on 14 May in Turin and share their sadness and disappointment that next year’s Contest cannot be held in Ukraine.

The EBU has been supporting UA:PBC across a whole range of areas since the invasion. We will ensure that this support continues so UA:PBC can maintain the indispensable service they provide to Ukrainians.

As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.

It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts.

EBU’s statement, June 16th 2022

The British scenario

The EBU is now in talks with the BBC in order to organize the contest in the United Kingdom. The UK ended up in the runner-up position this year, with Sam Ryder, making it the natural “back-up candidate” for hosting. Spain’s broadcaster, RTVE, had already stated in June that they wouldn’t push for the hosting rights and let the BBC handle it if Ukraine could not.

The BBC has just published a statement to acknowledge the EBU’s decision :

“We have seen the announcement from the EBU. Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want. Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”

BBC’s statement, June 17th 2022

This is the first time since 1980 that a Eurovision Song Contest will not be hosted by the previous year’s winner. At the time, The Netherlands hosted instead of Israel (who had won the 1979 contest in Jerusalem), and were mainly chosen for their recent hosting of the 1976 contest, in The Hague.

What do you think about the EBU’s decision? Did you expect it? Did you expect it so soon? How do you think Ukraine’s victory will be “reflected” next year? Tell us more in the comments below and on social media, at @escxtra !

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