Eurovision 2023: UK could host song contest as Ukraine forced to withdraw

‘Discussions’ are currently being had with the BBC about hosting next year’s event

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 17 June 2022 11:22 BST
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra thank the world for Eurovision win

Ukraine won’t be able to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has revealed that it is now starting “discussions with the BBC” about the UK hosting the event on the country’s behalf.

The BBC has since responded to this news, confirming it will engage in a conversation with the EBU.

In one of the most competitive Eurovisions in recent memory, Ukraine won the event after receiving overwhelming support in the public vote, with the UK’s entry Sam Ryder coming in second place.

After the country’s victory, many wondered if it would be able to host next year’s ceremony as Russia’s invasion continues.

Shortly afterwards, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not for the last time.”

However, Eurovision’s governing board, the Reference Group, “has with deep regret concluded that, given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organise and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled”.

Asked whether the government would support the staging of the 2023 Eurovision contest in the UK, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “Ukraine’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest was richly deserved, and as the rightful winner the government’s firm wish has been to see next year’s contest hosted there.

“If the EBU decides that the competition can’t go ahead in Ukraine, we would of course welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK, but we would be committed to ensuring it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries.”

The EBU said that Ukraine’s win “will be reflected in next year’s shows” regardless of where the event is hosted.

After winning the ceremony last month, Ukraine’s entry, the band Kalush Orchestra, said: “Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini.”

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