Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been confirmed to take place in the UK.
Due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the show’s organisers have announced that it’s not safe for the event to be held in the country.
Receiving a total of 631 points, the Kalush Orchestra won this year’s competition for Ukraine with its song Stefania.
As a result, the UK – who placed runner-up with Sam Ryder’s Spaceman – were invited by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to act as Host Broadcaster for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.
The UK last hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham in 1998 after Katrina and the Waves won the previous year with the song Love Shine a Light.
Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor, said in a statement: “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023. 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.”
Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC, added: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.
“The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. The BBC will now begin the process to find a Host City to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.”
Although it hasn’t been confirmed which UK city will host Eurovision, the EBU have said the venue should accommodate 10,000 people, be close to an international airport and have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, spectators and journalists.
When the EBU initially discussed the impossibility of Ukraine hosting Eurovision, the country’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy criticised the “nature of such a decision”, saying they “strongly believe that we have every reason to hold further negotiations in order to find a joint solution that will satisfy all parties”.
“Hosting Eurovision – 2023 in Ukraine is a strong signal to the whole world that it supports Ukraine now,” he said.
“We will demand to change this decision, because we believe that we will be able to fulfill all the commitments, as we have repeatedly empathized it to the European Broadcasting Union. That is why we demand additional negotiations on hosting Eurovision – 2023 in Ukraine.”
In response, the EBU doubled down on its decision “to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event”.
“At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern,” said the broadcasting body.
“It is therefore critical that decisions made in relation to such a complex live television event are made by broadcasting professionals and do not become politicised.”
According to the EBU, the host city will be “chosen in the coming months” following a bidding process that will be launched later this week, and dates for the 2023 contest will be announced in “due course”.