Eurovision execs hit Ukraine with massive fine for banning Russian entrant
Eurovision Song Contest execs are demanding £175,000 from the Ukrainian state broadcaster over a dispute at this year’s contest.
The camp pan-European music contest took place in May in Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.
The contest was thrown into crisis this year when Ukraine’s security services announced that Russian entrant Yulia Samoylova has been banned from the country, and would not be permitted to attend.
Samoylova was banned because she performed in Russian-occupied Crimea, which the Ukrainian government considers an illegally entry of their territory.
The European Broadcasting Union had attempting to broker a compromise between the two countries, but Russia later announced that it would withdraw from the contest altogether.
In a statement this week, the EBU announced a massive fine for Ukraine’s broadcaster over the spat.
The EBU said in a statement: “As a result of this, attention was drawn away from the competition and the brand reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest was endangered.
“Therefore the contest’s steering committee … has recommended that [broadcaster] UA:PBC should receive a substantial fine, in line with the rules of the competition.”
According to Reuters, the fine amounts to €200,000 (£175,000).
UA:PBC director Zurab Alasania lamented the fine, pointing out that the Samoylova was actually banned by the government, who are unlikely to help pay the fine.
Russia was also warned it could face punishment for its actions in provoking the row. Execs ruled out a fine, however,
Portuguese singer Salvador Sobral took the trophy this year after topping the leaderboard with a massive 758 points – winning both the jury vote and the public votes with emotional ballad Amar pelos dois.
The winning country is traditionally offered the right to host the next contest, and Portugal’s Rádio e Televisão de Portugal has confirmed the contest will be heading to sunnier shores in 2018.
Though a bidding process is open to find a host city, RTP has suggested that Portugal’s capital city Lisbon will be hosting.
Early planning is already underway for the contest, which is expected to take place in May 2018.
The broadcaster wrote: “It is certain that Lisbon will [be hosting] the contest in 2018.
“The venue for the next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has not yet been chosen.
“Portugal is the host country and RTP has already put in place a year-long plan [for organising the contest]
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“The organisation of the Eurovision Song Contest festival will involvean investment of millions of euros, but the total [cost of hosting] in Portugal is not yet known.”
The contest’s LGBT fanbase will likely get a warm welcome in Lisbon, which has a thriving LGBT scene and Pride celebrations.
Portugal is relatively liberal on LGBT rights.
It is one of only a few countries in the world that maintains a Constitution protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Portugal was the eighth country in the world to pass same-sex marriage, back in 2010, and recent years have also seen gender recognition laws and same-sex adoption approved.
The details of the 2018 contest will be ironed out in the coming months.