The Eurovision organizer said the “serious” risk of air raids on Ukraine, along with the “high” risk of mass casualties, contributed to the decision that the “necessary requirements for holding” the song contest were not met.
The Ukrainian composition of the Kalush Orchestra won the competition in Turin, Italy this year, and traditionally the winning country hosts the event next year.
However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced that after a “full assessment and feasibility study” it has concluded that the “safety and operational guarantees” needed to run the event cannot be met by Ukrainian public broadcaster UA:PBC.
On Thursday, the EBU said it “fully understands the frustration” but the decision was “guided” by their responsibility to ensure the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event – “for which planning must begin immediately at the host.” country,” the statement said.
“Typically, at least 10,000 people are accredited to work at Eurovision, including the film crew, staff and journalists.
“Another 30,000 fans from all over the world are expected to come to the event.
“Their well-being is our main concern.
“Therefore, it is imperative that decisions made regarding such a complex live television event are made by broadcast professionals and do not become politicized.
“The Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, which all participating broadcasters agree to, clearly state that the event may be rescheduled in cases of force majeure, such as an ongoing war.”
The EBU said that Ukraine’s response to the security questionnaire revealed a number of risks that could affect the immediate planning of the Eurovision Song Contest, including a “serious” risk of air raids and attacks by aircraft, drones and missiles.
In addition, the EBU said it commissioned a third-party security consultation that found that threat mitigation countermeasures in Ukraine were “insufficient” and the assessment of the risk of mass casualties due to the ongoing conflict was “high”.
The statement goes on to say: “In addition to security concerns, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine makes delegations and participants reluctant to travel to the country.
“We also noted comments by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that the war in Ukraine “could take years.”
“As for the possibility of holding the Contest in a border area near a neighboring country, the characteristics of the proposed venues and the lack of the necessary surrounding infrastructure do not meet the Eurovision requirements.
“In making its findings, the EBU also took note that, based on our current information, there are no major international concert tours visiting Ukraine during 2023.
“All this contributes to the overall assessment of the EBU that, in terms of security and operational guarantees, the necessary hosting requirements set out in the Eurovision Song Contest Rules are not being met.”
The EBU concluded that a decision had been made to move the event to another country, confirming that discussions were ongoing to find a “suitable venue” for next year’s contest.