ENTERTAINMENT

Eurovision organizers ask UK to host 2023 contest in place of Ukraine

Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra triumphed last month with their track “Stefania,” surfing a wave of goodwill from European nations to clinch the country’s third win at the annual event.
The competition marked the first major cultural event in which Ukraine had taken part since Russia invaded the country in February, and many in the audience waved Ukraine’s blue and yellow national flag during the evening.

Traditionally, it would be Ukraine’s job as winner to host the upcoming song contest. However, the EBU said that following a “full assessment and feasibility study” it had concluded that it will not be feasible for Ukraine to host, because of the ongoing war.

Addressing the conflict in Ukraine, the EBU said: “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 also revealed that it would now “begin discussions with the BBC” to host next year’s competition, as UK act Sam Ryder finished in second place.

“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.”

The BBC has since issued a statement on the announcement, telling CNN on Friday: “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.”

The news comes weeks after Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said he was confident his country would host.

“Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And, I believe, not the last. We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!” he said in an Instagram post, seconds after Kalush Orchestra’s victory was announced.

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