THE EUROPEAN Broadcasting Union has said that the welfare of staff, crew, journalists and fans of the Eurovision Song Contest is its prime concern, and that it is critical that decisions made in relation to broadcasting the event "do not become politicised."
Last week, the EBU made the announcement that despite Ukraine winning the competition this year, it would not be possible for the contest to be held there in 2023 as a result of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
It also mentioned that it was in discussions with the BBC to host the contest in the UK.
"The EBU fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) cannot be staged in Ukraine, this year’s winning country," it said in a statement.
"The decision was guided by the EBU’s responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country."
It highlighted how the rules of the contest "clearly state" that the event can be moved in a force majeure situation such as an ongoing war.
The EBU found a number of risks which would impact the immediate planning for such a large event, including "severe" risk of air raids, attacks by aircraft or attacks by drones or missiles, which can cause significant casualties.
Additionally, the EBU sought third-party expert security advice which clearly stated that the counter measures proposed to mitigate the threats planning the event in Ukraine were insufficient for an international public event and the risk rating of a mass casualty event due to the ongoing conflict is “high”.
The EBU also believes the conflict makes delegations and participants reluctant to travel to Ukraine, and the possibility of hosting the contest in a border location close to a neighbouring country, and the lack of necessary surrounding infrastructure, do not meet the requirements of the ESC.
It also noted that no major international concert tours are taking place in Ukraine throughout 2023.
"All this contributes to the EBU’s overall assessment that in terms of security and operational guarantees, the necessary requirements for hosting, as set out in the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest are not met.
"Taking all of this into account the EBU, with regret, made its decision to move the event to another country and will continue discussions on finding a suitable location for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. We are happy to engage further with our Ukrainian Member UA:PBC on all these issues," the statement concluded.