Words: Alastair James; pictures: Eurovison.tv/EBU
The organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest have said that the Uk could "potentially" host the 2023 contest after Ukraine was ruled out.
In a statement released on Friday (17 June) the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said they had conducted an analysis of Ukraine's ability to host but deemed that the country could not be prepared in time with the ongoing war caused by Russia's invasion.
Ukraine stormed to victory in this year's contest with Kalush Orchestra and their track 'Stefania'. The UK's Sam Ryder ultimately came in second place with 'Space Man'.
In its statement the EBU says it has been "exploring options" in Ukraine with the Ukrainian broadcaster, UA: PBC. It says that with the war, the EBU has conducted a "full assessment and feasibility study with both UA:PBC and third-party specialists including on safety and security issues".
But an "objective analysis" has with "deep regret" concluded that "given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the ESC under the ESC rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC."
The EBU thanks the UA: PBC for working with them and says it shares their sadness at this news. It adds that it. will continue to support the broadcaster.
"As a result of this decision," the statement continues, ""the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year's runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom."
It closes by saying that "It is our full intention that Ukraine's win will be reflected in next year's shows".
Responding to the statement, the BBC says: "Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want. Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest."
The news follows speculation since the 2022 contest about the likelihood of Ukraine being able to host next year. Earlier this week, a Spanish TV official said the Uk would be asked to host if Ukraine couldn't.
Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information, Oleksandr Tkachenko, has previously said he has "no doubt" that Ukraine will host next year’s Eurovision. The country's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has also posted on social media in May that "Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!"
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