Eurovision organiser the European Broadcasting Union has said it will begin talks with the BBC to host the 2023 event, after concluding next year’s contest cannot be held in Ukraine.
Ukraine was crowned the winner of the 2022 Song Contest last month with Kalush Orchestra’s track Stefania, and as the winning nation, was in line to host the competition next year.
Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of the country, the EBU conducted a “full assessment and feasibility study” with Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC as to whether it could go ahead.
However, it concluded that after “exploring all scenarios” with the network, they shared “their sadness and disappointment that next year’s Contest cannot be held in Ukraine”.
In a statement, the EBU thanked UA:PBC for “their wholehearted cooperation and commitment”, and said would now begin discussions with the BBC as to holding the event in the UK, after Sam Ryder finished runner-up in May’s Contest, with his song Space Man.
“The EBU has been supporting UA:PBC across a whole range of areas since the invasion. We will ensure that this support continues so UA:PBC can maintain the indispensable service they provide to Ukrainians,” it said.
“As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner-up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.
“It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts.”
After seeing the announcement, the BBC said: “Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want. Following [the EBU’s] decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”
The UK’s Sam Ryder topped the jury vote in Turin last month, but Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra went on to win overall after a symbolic show of public support which saw them soar to first place with 631 points.
In 1960 and 1974, the competition was held in the runner-up country rather than the winner – and in both of those cases, this meant the UK played host to the contest.
The UK last hosted Eurovision in 1998 after winning the contest with Katrina and the Waves’ Love Shine A Light.
Downing Street has said it would “welcome” next year’s Eurovision being hosted in the UK.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said Ukraine’s victory was “richly deserved” and the government’s “overwhelming wish” was for the contest could be held there.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK,” the spokesperson said.
No.10 added if the contest was held in Britain it would want it to reflect the “rich culture, heritage and creativity” of Ukraine.