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Eurovision Song Contest cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

Leslie Roy was set to represent Ireland in Rotterdam this May.

Leslie Roy was set to represent Ireland in Rotterdam this May.
Leslie Roy was set to represent Ireland in Rotterdam this May.
Image: RTÉ

THE EUROVISION SONG Contest has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the European Broadcasting Union announced today.

The EBU said that over the past few weeks it has searched for “many alternatives options” to allow the contest to go ahead as planned this May. 

“However, the uncertainty created by the spread of Covid-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.

“We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of you around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May,” the EBU said in a statement. 

We are all heartbroken that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May but feel confident that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.

Organisers said holding the contest without an audience was not an option at this time due to international travel restrictions and that holding it remotely was not in the DNA of the contest. 

“We felt that under the extreme circumstances we face this year, organizing the Eurovision Song Contest in another way would not be in keeping with our values and the tradition of the event. The unique format of the Song Contest as an international live event means that it is not possible to identify any realistic alternative. We, therefore, have no choice other than to cancel the show.”

Source: Eurovision Song Contest/YouTube

It is still uncertain whether this year’s selected artists will be able to perform their songs next year. 

Organisers said a decision on this issue will be “communicated later” after discussions are held between the Eurovision’s executive committee and participating broadcasters. 

Ireland’s entry, Lesley Roy, was due to sing Story of My Life in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, following the country’s victory at the 2019 contest in Israel.

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This would have been the 65th edition of the contest.

Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest said: “We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever.”

The EBU added that it is still too early to discuss next year’s competition but relevant parties and the City of Rotterdam are “continuing their conversation regarding the potential hosting of the Contest in 2021″. 

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Adam Daly

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