Despite an emotional plea by Ukraine’s political leaders and support for them by the UK government, next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will definitely not take place in the beleaguered European country.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has doubled down on its decision to move next year’s competition from its traditional venue of previous winner’s country, and instead to have it take place in the country of the runner-up, meaning the UK.
This announcement last week was met with distress by Ukrainian politicians who asked for negotiations to continue. Leading British politicians including Prime Minister Boris Johnson added their support to the belief that the Contest should take place in the winning country.
Now, the EBU says it “understands the disappointment” but has other responsibilities in allotting the venue to a country where infrastructure for the enormous event is more stable.
In a statement, it said: “The decision was guided by the EBU’s responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country,” the broadcasting body said in a statement.
“At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern.
“It is therefore critical that decisions made in relation to such a complex live television event are made by broadcasting professionals and do not become politicised.”
The EBU also noted that no other major international concert tours are scheduled to visit Ukraine throughout 2023.
This year’s Ukrainian winners Kalush Orchestra are set to play the UK’s revered Glastonbury Music Festival this weekend.