Eurovision in crisis as producers and staff quit en masse over planning chaos
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest is in jeopardy, after nearly all of the senior organisers walked out en masse.
Eurovision begins in Ukrainian capital Kyiv on May 9, but the event has been plagued with multiple delays and setbacks.
European Broadcasting Union execs previously threatened to pull the contest out of Kyiv over behind-the-scenes troubles, which has seen major decisions run months behind schedule.
Tickets finally went on sale yesterday at short notice, but the contest is now again in serious trouble after nearly all of the senior organisers walked out, including two executive producers.
21 staff from Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC have quit – including executive producers, the event manager and head of security.
The European Broadcasting Union blamed “staffing matters” for the crisis, but the departing staff warned in an open letter that the contest was facing serious hurdles and that staff had been “completely blocked” from making any progress.
The EBU said: “The group felt they were not able to continue work on the project owing to staffing matters at UA:PBC, which the EBU cannot fully comment on.
“The team have been instrumental in the planning for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and we thank them for their hard work.
“We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes, and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the Reference Group to ensure a successful Contest in May.
“Further information regarding the core team of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be released in due course.”
A decision to withdraw the contest from Ukraine was averted just months ago after the Ukrainian Parliament issued extra emergency funding to cover the cost of the contest, after delays on security, site preparation, set design, ticketing and transport.