Eurovision 2017: Contest in chaos as 21 members of organising team quit

The appointment of director general Pavlo Hrytsak proved a catalyst for the departures

Jack Shepherd
Wednesday 15 February 2017 16:07
 Ukraine's Jamala smiles after winning the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest final
Ukraine's Jamala smiles after winning the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest final

The Eurovision Song Contest has been thrown into chaos after 21 members of the organising committee resigned.

The Ukrainian Eurovision team claim they were "completely blocked” from making decisions about the show following the appointment of a new boss in December.

In an open letter published by Strana, the committee said: “Hereby we, the Eurovision team, for whom this contest has become not only part of our work but also part of our life, officially inform that we are resigning and stopping work on preparations for the organisation of the contest.”

Director general Pavlo Hrytsak - who has been involved with various Eurovision contests - was singled out in the letter which claimed his appointment last year meant "the work of our team was completely blocked."

The committee complained how upping the budget from 22m Euro (£18.6m) to to 29m Euro (£24.5m) meant Ukraine Public Broadcaster (UA:PBC) - who appointed the team - would be deprived of profit.

Despite theses latest developments, the contest final is still expected to take place in Kiev on 13 May. Founders of Eurovision, The European Broadcasting Union, said in a statement they are staffing matters in the meantime.

Their statement continues: ”We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the Reference Group to ensure a successful contest."

Following Ukrainian singer Jamala's remarkable win with the moving “1944” at the 2016 Eurovision, the country automatically became the chosen host for the 2017 ceremony.

Meanwhile, former X Factor contestant Lucie Jones has been chosen to represent UK at the event later this year.

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