Geneva, 25 July 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Ukraine is handing Eurovision hosting duties to Britain next year, despite winning this year’s event, due to lingering dangers from the war there, said the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Monday.
Britain came second in this year’s contest, so the EBU opened talks with the BBC, according to the public broadcaster.
“We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023,” said Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s [ESC] executive supervisor, in a statement issued by the EBU.
“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, who heads Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC, said the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest would 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,” Chernotytskyi said, according to the EBU statement
Representatives from UA:PBC will work with the BBC to develop and implement the Ukrainian elements of next year’s shows.
Ukraine, as the winner of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, will also automatically qualify for the upcoming contest’s grand final.
The city that will host next year’s contest is due to be chosen in the coming months following a bidding process to be launched later this week. Some, including Glasgow and Manchester, have expressed an interest, the BBC has said, while Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Aberdeen, London, Brighton, Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff could also be in the running.
The dates for the 2023 event have not yet been announced.
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the contest in Turin, Italy, this year with the song “Stefania”, followed by Sam Ryder who came second, representing Britain.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the news in a tweet, saying he had agreed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that “wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine.”