After the Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday, the custom was to have Ukraine host the next edition.
Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his desire that in 2023 it will be held in the “free and peaceful reconstructed” city of Mariupol. But today it is hard to imagine that the strategic coastal city of Ukraine, still heavily bombed by the Russians as reported by Kyiv, may soon welcome the whole of Europe to celebrate the next edition of the competition. The same is true of Kyiv or any other Ukrainian city, whose future over the next twelve months is more than uncertain.
The tradition of wanting the winning country to get the following year is not mandatory, recalls Le Parisien Benoît Blaszczyk, secretary of the French Eurofans Confederation. “Winning the competition simply prioritizes organizing the following year, he explains, and there is no obligation to host the competition when you win.”
The regulations even state that in the event of refusal or impossibility, another country takes over. “In general one of the countries of the Big Five (the five largest contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, namely France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom),” the specialist also specifies.
As Le Parisien recalls, the situation actually arose in the past: “In 1960, 1963, 1972 and 1974, the United Kingdom took over the reins from the Netherlands, France, Monaco and Luxembourg. The same was done in 1980 when the Netherlands, after a second Israeli victory in a row, organized the competition In The Hague”, this time for financial reasons.
Ukraine, which now has three Eurovision victories to its name, had already hosted the event in 2005 and 2017 in Kyiv. So what will it be in 2023? In a statement, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs Eurovision, was cautious: “We congratulate Ukraine and the Kalush Orchestra on their victory and an outstanding performance. We will now begin planning for a 2023 release with the broadcaster. It is clear that organizing next year’s competition presents unique challenges.”
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