The organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest have announced next year’s edition will be held in Britain as war-torn Ukraine is unable to host it safely.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the event, said it had been in discussions with the Ukrainian public broadcaster UA: PBC over how it would hold the event after its entry Kalush Orchestra won this year’s edition.
However, it said that after looking into the issues of safety in the country, which is currently at war with Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion in February, there is no possibility of it being held there.
Instead, the EBU said it will discuss with the BBC whether it will host the event in Britain, after the UK’s Sam Ryder finished as a runner-up.
The BBC said it would ‘of course’ discuss hosting the international event with the organisers.
The bombshell announcement was made by the EBU this morning, giving rise to the possibility of the UK hosting the event for the first time since 1998, when it was held in Birmingham.
The UK’s Sam Ryder (pictured) finished second in this year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra (pictured) won the event in Turin, Italy, in May with their song Stefania
‘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 said.
‘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 May 14 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 .
The success of Sam Ryder in reaching second place in this year’s event, and the ongoing war in Ukraine, means the UK now has the chance to host it next year
Kalush Orchestra won this year’s event in Turin after the tsunami of public support following the Russian invasion
‘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. ‘
In a statement, the BBC said: ‘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. ‘
Traditionally the winner of the international singing contest hosts the next year’s edition, with Italy holding it in May after coming out on top in 2021.
Ukraine’s entry, Kalush Orchestra, surged to the top of the leaderboard this year, with an impressive 631 points.
They later auctioned the trophy they received for winning the event to raise money for the Ukrainian army, with the £ 700,000 raised being spent on buying combat drones.
The announcement means the UK could host the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time since 1998. Pictured is Laura Pausini performing at this year’s event in Turin in May.
While Ukraine won the contest for the third time since joining the contest in 2003, the UK saw its best result in decades.
Sam Ryder, from Essex, wowed the judges with his song Space Man and finished second with 466 points, the best UK result since Imaani came second in 1998 with her song Where Are You?
The UK’s second place standing was thrown into doubt after the grand final when it emerged organisers had replaced six countries’ jury results with aggregate scores after noting ‘irregular voting patterns’.
But after an investigation, the EBU stuck by its decision and confirmed Ryder as a runner-up.