The United Kingdom will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the 2022 winners, Ukraine.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said safety and security reasons in Ukraine meant runners-up Britain were invited to host instead, despite the decades-long tradition dictating the winners host the following year.
The BBC will now stage the event, which was last held in Britain in 1998 and typically draws a television audience of nearly 200 million.
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final along with the ‘Big 5’ that financially contribute the most towards the contest: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
BBC director-general Tim Davie said in a statement, “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.
“The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”
Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s executive supervisor said, “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.
“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s Contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event.”
Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of UA:PBC, added:
“The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us. 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.”