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Ukraine cannot host Eurovision 2023, could be held in UK

Sam Ryder (left), the UK's Eurovision 2022 entry, and Kalush Orchestra (right) who won the contest for Ukraine
Sam Ryder (left), the UK's Eurovision 2022 entry, and Kalush Orchestra (right) who won the contest for Ukraine   -   Copyright  AP
By Tim Gallagher

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced that Ukraine cannot host Eurovision 2023.

Ukraine’s entry Kalush Orchestra won last year’s Eurovision Song Contest after receiving a massive share of the public vote and would under normal rules be the hosts of Eurovision 2023.

However, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine the EBU has announced that it isn’t safe to host the contest there and has asked this year’s runner-up, the UK, to host instead.

The announcement comes after long talks with UA:PBC, Ukraine’s public broadcaster, about the possibility of them safely hosting the event.

“It has become a well-known tradition that the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 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,” EBU said in a statement.

“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, organise and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC.”

Who will host Eurovision next year?

Luca Bruno/AP
Sam Ryder placed second in Eurovision 2022Luca Bruno/AP

The announcement will come as a blow to Ukraine which has hosted Eurovision twice before, in 2005 and 2017. The last time the UK hosted the contest was in 1998.

EBU has said it is already in talks with the BBC about hosting the song contest in the UK and speculation is rife over which city will be chosen to host the event.

The UK’s entry Sam Ryder came second place in a reversal of the country's usual Eurovision fortunes. The jumpsuit-clad singer proved a surprise favourite with the judges.

“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,” EBU said.

“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.”