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Sam Ryder from Great Britain sings the song "Space Man" at the final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Alamy Stock Photo

UK to host Eurovision 2023 after organisers rule out Ukraine due to safety concerns

This year’s contest was won by Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra.

LAST UPDATE | 25 Jul 2022

NEXT YEAR’S EUROVISION Song Contest will be held in the United Kingdom on behalf of 2022 winner Ukraine.

This year’s contest was won by Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) had ruled out the possibility of the country hosting the competition due to the ongoing war, saying it would “potentially” be held in the UK.

The Ukrainian Government had criticised the decision but the EBU said that there was a substantial risk of a mass casualty incident if the event was held in Ukraine. 

That decision was confirmed this morning in a statement from the EBU.

The BBC, as runner up in the 2022 Contest, was invited by the EBU to act as Host Broadcaster for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest. 

Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor said that the EBU was “exceptionally grateful” that the BBC had accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest.

“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s Contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event,” he said. 

Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of the Managing Board of UA:PBC, said that Ukrainians understood the decision and that the event would celebrate his country. 

“The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us.

“I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent,” he said. 

The BBC has staged the Eurovision Song Contest more times than any other broadcaster – it has been the lead broadcaster on eight occasions, first in London in 1960 and the last time in Birmingham in 1998. 

The EBU said that next year’s host city will be chosen in the coming months following a bidding process to be launched this week – the dates for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will then be announced. 

Speaking to The Journal last month, EBU Director General Noel Curran said there are a number of “milestones” that a host country has to meet including venue, financing and safety. 

“We have milestones for everybody in terms of dates when certain milestones have to be met, and whoever wins we will sit down and go through it with them,” he said.

The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event, organised annually since 1956 by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which represents public service media in 56 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The 2022 competition reached more than 180 million viewers on TV and digital platforms.  

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