Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest could be held in the UK, as producers say it will not be hosted by Ukrainian winners due to security concerns stemming from the Russian invasion.
In a statement on Friday, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – the alliance of public service broadcasters that runs Eurovision – said the war in Ukraine made it impossible to begin the 12 months of preparation needed for next year’s show.
The EBU said it was entering into discussions “with the BBC, as this year’s finalist, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest United Kingdom”.
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“We fully intend for Ukraine’s victory to be reflected in next year’s shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with possible hosts,” the organization added.
In a statement, the BBC said: “We have seen the EBU announcement. Clearly this is not a set of circumstances anyone would want.
“Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest,” the organization added.
A Number 10 spokesperson welcomed the possibility of the UK hosting the competition, promising it would “overwhelmingly reflect Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity”.
“Ukraine’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest was well deserved and, as the rightful winners, the government’s strong wish was to see next year’s contest held there,
“If the EBU decides that the competition cannot take place in Ukraine, we would of course be delighted to be able to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK.
“But we are committed to ensuring that it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, while building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries.”
When asked if the government would help defray the costs, the spokesman said “we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves in terms of process.”
Kalush Orchestra, which performed the folk-rap song Stefania, won the song contest due to a huge public vote in favor – ahead of Britain’s Sam Ryder, who won the national jury vote.
Ryder received full points from the Ukrainian jury and Ukraine received full points from the UK public vote.
He narrowly missed joining Katrina And The Waves and Bucks Fizz to give the UK their sixth win since 1957, but was delighted with the result. “There’s so much gratitude, what an experience,” he said.
The band members of Kalush Orchestra had taken to the streets to fight off Russian attackers just weeks before taking the stage in Turin – instead of rehearsing for the biggest performance of their lives.
They subsequently raised $900,000 (£713,000) for the country’s military by auctioning their trophy.
Kalush Orchestra sold the crystal microphone it received in a Facebook auction hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula on Sunday.
The money will be used to purchase the PD-2 drone system for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which includes three aircraft and a ground control station, Prytula said.
The auction was accompanied by a raffle for singer Oleh Psiuk’s signature pink bucket hat, with tickets priced at €5 each.
Mr Prytula said the raffle raised an additional $370,000 (£293,000) for the Ukrainian military, with more than 31,000 people from 56 countries taking part.
After their victory, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky defiantly promised that next year’s competition will be held in Mariupol, which is currently almost entirely in Russian hands, writing on Facebook: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe. Next year , Ukraine will host Eurovision.”
Russia was excluded from the contest this year in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
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