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UK set to step in to host next Eurovision due to war in Ukraine

2022 eurovision song contest in turin
Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine pose after winning the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, May 15, 2022. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

The Eurovision Song Contest is likely to be held in Britain in 2023 as the organisers deem it too risky for this year’s winners Ukraine to host it due to the war, drawing immediate disappointment from Kyiv.

While decades-long tradition dictates that the winner of the contest gets to host it the following year, organisers said the security guarantees required to hold the competition meant discussions would be held with the runner up, Britain.

Ukraine was not happy with the decision, with Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, on Telegram, demanding more negotiations “because we believe that we will be able to fulfil all the commitments we have made”.

Britain’s entry to the contest last month in Turin, “SPACE MAN” by British singer-songwriter Sam Ryder, came second behind Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra after a string of lowly finishes.

The group rode a wave of public support to claim an emotional victory with “Stefania” that was welcomed by the country’s president.

Organiser the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it was in discussions with British broadcaster the BBC to host the next event.

“The EBU … share their sadness and disappointment that next year’s contest cannot be held in Ukraine,” the Eurovision Song Contest said.

“It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows.”

The event normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million.

“We would be committed to ensuring that it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was visiting Kyiv on Friday, said.

The BBC said: “Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want … we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”

The last time Britain hosted the annual competition was in 1998 when it was held in Birmingham after British rock band Katrina and the Waves’ song “Love Shine a Light” won the year before.

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