- Özgür Töre
The UK would host the Eurovision song contest on Ukraine's behalf next year, it was announced on Monday.
In a statement, the organizers said that since the show could not be held in Ukraine, the winning country, due to the ongoing war with Russia, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) opened talks with the BBC, runner-up in this year's contest.
“We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023,” said Martin Osterdahl, the competition's executive supervisor.
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final of the upcoming contest along with the ‘Big 5’ (countries that financially contribute the most towards the contest: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK).
Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of Ukraine's UA: PBC, this year’s winning broadcaster, added: “The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine ... I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent.”
"Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege," said BBC Director-General Tim Davie. "The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity."
It's not yet known which city will host the event, but the bidding process is set to begin this week.
"Last week President Zelenskyy and I agreed that wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine," tweeted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"As we are now hosts, the UK will honour that pledge directly – and put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends."
The world’s largest live music event is being organized by the EBU annually since 1956. The UK has hosted the contest eight times, more than any other country.
The song Stefania performed by Kalush Orchestra won Eurovision 2022, the 66th edition of the contest held in Italy.