The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organization that runs the Eurovision Song Contest, has confirmed the competition will not be held in Ukraine next year despite Ukrainian band Kalush orchestra winning 2022’s top spot.
As Variety predicted last month, Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine means that the country is not in a position to host the contest, which has some of the strictest security protocols of any live event.
Such is the scale of the Eurovision Song Contest, which requires an arena-sized venue to be available for a fortnight of televised dress rehearsals and heats, followed by the final, that preparations start a year in advance.
The EBU has said it is in discussions with the BBC about holding the 2023 competition in the U.K. Insiders suspect that if the event is held in the U.K., it is likely to take place in Manchester rather than London as part of the BBC’s effort to diversify programming in the country.
The BBC moved its national operations to Salford in Manchester in 2011. The city also has its own tragic musical connection after a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert killed 23 people in 2017.
““We have seen the announcement from the EBU,” said a BBC spokesperson. “Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want. Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”
The U.K. is a natural back-up host for 2023’s event. Not only are political relations between Ukraine and Britain particularly strong at the moment, partly due to Britain’s support of the country against invasion, but British entry Sam Ryder place second behind Kalush Orchestra at this year’s finals in Turin.
Check out the full EBU statement below:
“Following their win at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May the EBU has been exploring options for the hosting of next year’s competition with Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC, who previously staged the event in 2017 and 2005.
It has become a well-known tradition that the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 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.
Given the ongoing war since the Russian invasion of this year’s winning country, the EBU has taken the time to conduct a full assessment and feasibility study with both UA:PBC and third-party specialists including on safety and security issues.
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most complex TV productions in the world with thousands working on, and attending, the event and 12 months of preparation time needed.
Following objective analysis, the Reference Group, 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, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC.
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.
The EBU has been supporting UA:PBC across a whole range of areas since the invasion. We will ensure that this support continues so UA:PBC can maintain the indispensable service they provide to Ukrainians.
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.”