Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be held within Ukraine, ministers in the country have vowed, despite security concerns as the war rages on – and amid claims that the BBC could be in line to serve as a “back-up”.
The winner of Eurovision traditionally gets the right to host the next year, but the victory of Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra last month has left the competition’s bosses wrestling with “unique challenges” for 2023.
However, at a meeting on Tuesday, Ukrainian officials and representatives from state broadcaster Suspilne (also known as UA:PBC) presented several proposals for the contest to be held in regions of Ukraine.
Officials handed Eurovision bosses a completed security questionnaire alongside detailing potential locations for the contest, a UA:PBC press release said.
Hosting the event even in peacetime is a complex challenge, involving the construction of a venue to TV standards and ensuring suitable hotel accommodation for 40 international delegations, as well as catering for thousands of workers, press and fans from across the continent.
Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko offered a guarantee to Eurovision bosses “that all the obligations that we have assumed will be fulfilled”.
He added: “We gave detailed answers regarding security questions and other organisation nuances, proposed several venues. I believe that we should have exhaustive, clear and honest answers to questions.
“We understand that in the current circumstances both we and the EBU face a challenge of organising Eurovision in Ukraine. But we have accepted this challenge and, I am sure, we will surprise everyone.”
The EBU is yet to confirm whether the event will go ahead in Ukraine, with a formal decision on the host city likely still months away.
Eurovision rumour mills have been swirling once again, however, about the prospect of the UK stepping in to host the contest if Ukraine is unable to.
Spain’s broadcaster RTVE had previously offered to stand in, but officials conceded this week that this was no longer a possibility.
José Manuel Pérez Tornero, head of RTVE, told Spanish newspaper Faro de Vigo: “We were interested in organising [the contest]. But if Ukraine resigns, it will be the BBC that organises it.”
The UK’s Sam Ryder came second at this year’s contest in Turin with his song “Space Man”.