The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said on June 17 that it had concluded “with deep regret” that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest cannot be held in Ukraine and it would now begin discussions with the BBC to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom, this year’s runner-up.
Ukraine overwhelmingly won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. The contest’s rules say that the winning country hosts the next year’s contest, barring circumstances making that impossible or the winning country declining to be the host.
The EBU said that following their win at the contest in May the EBU had been exploring options for the hosting of next year’s competition with Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC, which 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 EBU said.
It said that 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 thanked UA:PBC for their wholehearted cooperation and commitment in exploring all scenarios in the weeks since Kalush Orchestra’s win on May 14 in Turin and “share their sadness and disappointment that next year’s contest cannot be held in Ukraine”.
The EBU said that it had 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,” the EBU said.
(Photo: EBU/Corinne Cumming)
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