UK asked to host Eurovision 2023 in place of war-torn Ukraine


The organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest have asked the United Kingdom to host the 2023 edition of the competition after they determined that it would not be possible to hold the event in Ukraine.

The decision has angered Ukraine who were hopeful of hosting the event after the band Kalush Orchestra won the event this year. The voting in the 2022 competition saw people across Europe show soldiarity for the war-torn nation that is ending off an invasion from Russia.

Traditionally the country of the winning act if offered the opportunity to host the following year’s event but the European Broadcasting Union has concluded that it would not be practical for the event to be staged in Ukraine, in turn they offered it to the United Kingsom who were the runner-up at this year’s event.

Internet sensation Sam Ryder came second in the competition with his song Space Man. Ryder, who came to prominence during the Covid lockdown via his performances on social media site TikTok, gave the UK their best result in decades.

While the UK have previously won the competition with performances from Sandie Shaw, Lulu, Brotherhood of Man, Bucks Fizz and Katrina and the Waves – their last win was in 1997.

Ukraine’s Culture Minister has expressed his anger at the decision to consider other lcoations for the 2023 event. Oleksandr Tkachenko, has already sent a series of potential venues in Ukraine to Eurovision’s organisers.

“We honestly won Eurovision and have fulfilled all the conditions within the deadlines for the process of approving its holding in Ukraine – we have provided answers and guarantees on safety standards and possible venues for the competition.

“Hosting Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine is a strong signal to the whole world that it supports Ukraine now. We will demand to change this decision because we believe that we will be able to fulfil all the commitments, as we have repeatedly emphasised to the European Broadcasting Union.”

The event can be a major tourism draw card for the host country, but it can also come at great expense for the host nation. In 2014 organisers of the event in Copenhagen spent 112 million Danish Kroner on the event ($AUD 22.7 million), three time the amount they had originally budgeted.

Eurovision organisers says even if the event is not held in Ukraine, it will still be a celebration of the country.

“It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts.” a spokesperson said.

The United Kingdom has hosted the event more than any other country, staging the contest on eight occasions. The United Kingdom has only won the event five times though since they first signed up in 1957.

The event was staged in London in 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977. The 1972 competition was held in Edinburgh, Brighton was the venue in 1974 when ABBA was the victor, and Harrogate hosted the 1982 outing. The last time the event was held in the UK was in 1998 when it was staged in Birmingham.

If the BBC does agree to take on the responsibility for next year’s competition many different cities in the United Kingdom are expected to complete to be the location. A spokesperson for the broadcaster has confirmed they are discussing the possibility of taking on the task.

Graeme Watson

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