Eurovision’s organizer said that the “serious” risk of airstrikes in Ukraine as well as the “high” risk of mass casualties contributed to the decision that the song contest’s “necessary requirements for hosting” were not met.
The Ukrainian entry of the Kalush Orchestra won the competition this year in Turin, Italy, and it is customary for the winning country to host the event the following year.
However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that after a “full evaluation and feasibility study” it had concluded that the “safety and operational guarantees” needed to host the event were not met by Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC. can be done.
On Thursday, the EBU said it “completely understands the disappointment” but that the decision was “guided” by their responsibility to ensure the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the incident – “whose Planning needs to be started immediately in the host country,” a statement said.
“At least 10,000 people generally recognized to have worked in or on the Eurovision Song Contest, including crew, staff and journalists.
“Another 30,000 fans are expected to attend the event from all over the world.
“Their welfare is our prime concern.
“It is therefore important that decisions regarding such a complex live television program are made by broadcast professionals and are not politicised.
“The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, to which all participating broadcasters agree, explicitly state that the event may be transferred to a force majeure, such as an ongoing war.”
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The EBU said Ukraine’s response to the security questionnaire highlighted several risks that would affect Eurovision’s immediate plan, including “serious” risks of airstrikes and attacks by aircraft, drones and missiles.
In addition, the EBU said it ordered third-party security advice that counter-measures to mitigate threats to Ukraine were “inadequate” and that the risk rating of mass casualties due to the ongoing conflict was “high”. Was.
The statement continued: “Along with security concerns, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine makes delegations and participants reluctant to travel to the country.
“We also noted the comments made by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, that the war in Ukraine ‘could take years’.
“With regard to the possibility of hosting the competition at a border location close to a neighboring country, the specifications of the suggested venues, and the lack of necessary surrounding infrastructure, do not meet the requirements of the ESC.
“While drawing its conclusion, the EBU also noted that, based on our current information, no major international concerts are touring Ukraine during 2023.
“All this contributes to the overall assessment of the EBU that, in terms of security and operational guarantees, the essential requirements for hosting, as stipulated in the Eurovision Song Contest rules, are not met.”
The EBU concluded that the decision had been made to move the event to another country, confirming that discussions were underway to find a “suitable venue” for next year’s competition.