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Eurovision could be pulled from Ukraine over ‘shambolic’ organisation and budget problems

Nick Duffy December 5, 2016
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Ukraine might be stripped of the right to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest this week – as concerns grow about the shambolic organisation of the contest.

The country that wins the camp music contest is traditionally given the honour of hosting the following year, meaning the task falls to Ukrainian broadcaster NTU following the victory of Crimean singer Jamala back in May. 

However, planning for next year’s contest is believed to be months behind schedule, with the announcement of host city Kyiv delayed three times due to behind-the-scenes troubles.

There are also fears that NTU is struggling to meet infrastructure costs associated with the contest, which sees tens of thousands of dedicated fans descend upon its host city every year.

Lawmakers in the country passed a special measure to allocate funding for Eurovision, but last month the state broadcaster’s Director General resigned in protest at the growing cost.

The TV exec warned  in an open letter that the burden of hosting Eurovision has “literally squeezed everything that happens”, flagging extreme concerns with “the problems with the budget of Eurovision and the future Public Service Broadcaster’s budget”.

Amid the chaos, several sources have confirmed that execs from the European Broadcasting Union are set to meet in secret this Thursday, to make a final decision on whether to move the contest out of Ukraine.

It is believed a ‘back-up plan’ is already in place with a second country’s broadcaster, with rumours that Germany, Russia, Sweden or the UK could end up hosting.

The acting head of the Ukrainian National television company, Alexander Kharebin, confirmed the EBU had made threats to move the contest unless progress is made.

In a furious Facebook post, Ukranian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman attacked reports that that the contest could be moved to Russia – a blow that would be seen as a final humiliation for Ukraine.

The PM dismissed claims that country was struggling to prepare for the contest, accusing critics of spreading “propaganda” and trying to “discredit Ukraine”.

Though tickets have not yet been allocated for the contest in Ukraine, many dedicated fans have already booked flights and accommodation, and could end up out-of-pocket.

Ukraine would be the first winner not to host the contest in 37 years. The 1980 contest took place in The Netherlands, when Israel, who won twice in a row, declined to host the contest for a second time.

The Semi-Finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will take place on May 9 and May 11, with the Grand Final on Saturday May 13. The contest is currently set to take place in Kyiv’s International Exhibition Centre.

Related topics: contest, Europe, eurovision, eurovision song contest, Gay, Germany, Kyiv, LGBT, Music, Russia, Television, ukraine, Ukraine

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