Eurovision to be held in UK next year as host city search begins

It was decided that 2022 winners Ukraine could not host next year's event due to ongoing conflict with Russia.

Eurovision Song Contest to be held in UK in 2023 instead of Ukraine as search for host city gets under way EBU
Ukraine: Winning country will not be allowed to host next year's event.

The Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the UK next year, after it was decided this year’s winner Ukraine could not host the event due to ongoing conflict with Russia. 

Ukrainian act Kalush won the singing competition in May this year, with UK singer Sam Ryder picking up second place.

However on Monday, the European Broadcasting Union announced the UK had been chosen to host as this year’s runner-up. 

Ukraine will automatically qualify for the grand final alongside the so-called big five nations – the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, who each get a free pass because of their financial contributions to the event.

It will be the ninth time Eurovision has taken place in the UK – more than any other country.

The process for choosing a host city is due to get under way this week, with Glasgow and Cardiff considered front-runners. 

Other UK cities which have expressed interest in hosting the event include Aberdeen, Manchester, London, Brighton and Belfast. 

Cities will have to prove they have the infrastructure to host the event, with 10,000 spectators expected to watch the final. 

The BBC, who are the UK broadcaster for the Eurovision Song Contest, said being asked to host on behalf of Ukraine was “a great privilege”.

A statement from BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.

“The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.

“The BBC will now begin the process to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.”

Martin Osterdahl, 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.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would “put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends”.

He said that in talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week they “agreed that wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine”.

“As we are now hosts, the UK will honour that pledge directly – and put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends,” Johnson said.