Ukrainian broadcaster ‘disappointed’ after Eurovision bosses ruled it can’t host it

The Ukrainian Public Broadcasting Company said it was “disappointed” that Eurovision officials decided it could not host the contest next year and called for a postponement of talks on a new venue.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is currently in talks with the BBC about the possibility of hosting an annual event in the UK following Sam Ryder’s runner-up in Turin earlier this year.

If the UK does host the competition in 2023, it will be the ninth time it has been held here – more than any other country.

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Sam Ryder (Yui Mok/PA)

UA:PBC released a statement on Friday claiming that the EBU “denied Ukraine the right to host Eurovision 2023” after analyzing the security situation in the war-torn country.

Nikolai Chernotitsky, UA:PBC Chairman of the Board, said: “We are disappointed with this decision by the EBU.

“During this month, a large number of people in Ukraine threw all their strength into fulfilling the conditions for holding Eurovision in our country. Safety is of course our top priority.

“Team UA: The NBK, state and local governments have done a thorough job and come up with different options.

“It is very regrettable to see such a peremptory statement, so we ask our partners to conduct further negotiations.”

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Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine (Eurovision/PA)

The broadcaster’s statement goes on to detail the meeting on 14 June, where organizers from Ukraine met with representatives from the EBU and the contest itself.

They discussed the issue of security and three possible locations – Lviv, Transcarpathia on the border with Hungary and Slovakia, and Kyiv.

The statement reads: “We remind you that after the victory of the Kalush Orchestra at Eurovision 2022 in Turin, Ukraine received the right to host the song contest next year.

“UA:PBC, as a member of the European Broadcasting Union, ensures the selection and participation of the representative of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest, is the official broadcaster of the contest and organizes the contest for the next year if Ukraine wins.”

Downing Street has welcomed the possibility of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK if Ukraine fails to do so.

A spokesperson for #10 said: “Ukraine’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest was well deserved and, as the rightful winner, the government strongly desires that next year’s contest be held there.

“If the EBU decides that the competition cannot be held in Ukraine, we would of course welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to bring it here in the UK.

“But we will strive to ensure that it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, and builds on the ongoing partnership between our two countries.”

Asked if the government would help the BBC with the costs, a spokesman said: “We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves in terms of the process.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested Glasgow as a potential venue for the competition, tweeting: “I can think of the perfect location on the banks of the River Clyde!!”

The OVO Hydro arena in Glasgow said it would be “glad” to participate in the discussions.

The statement reads: “We are naturally disappointed that, as announced, Ukraine will not be able to host Eurovision 2023.

“If Glasgow is seen as a potential host city for the event, we’d love to be a part of that conversation.”

The BBC said in a brief statement: “We have seen the announcement from the EBU. It is clear that this is not the set of circumstances that someone may need.

“After their decision, we will, of course, discuss how the BBC conducts the Eurovision Song Contest.

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OVO Hydro (Andrew Milligan/PA)

This came after Britain’s Ryder led a jury vote in Turin in May, but the Kalush Orchestra won overall after a token show of public support that sent them skyrocketing to first place with 631 points.

They have been in the lead since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which prompted the organizers to ban the Russian competitor from the competition.

Ukraine joined the international competition in 2003 and its three victories make it one of the most successful among the new participating countries, having also won in 2004 and 2016.