Ukraine was unable to host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest due to the war taking place inside the country. Now President Zelenskyy has been banned by event owners from addressing the huge audience at the event.
The Times reports that the Ukrainian president had asked to make an appearance during the Grand Final on Saturday May 13, but his request has been rejected.
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The paper reports that Zelenskyy had been expected to press for international support for his country in the face of Russia’s ongoing invasion, but that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has always insisted that no political statements be made during the performances – something enforced by the EBU’s ‘Reference Group’ – and this extends to speeches beyond the music.
An EBU spokesperson said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is an international entertainment show and governed by strict rules and principles which have been established since its creation. As part of these, one of the cornerstones of the contest is the non-political nature of the event.
“This principle prohibits the possibility of making political or similar statements as part of the contest. The request by Mr Zelenskyy to address the audience at the Eurovision Song Contest, whilst made with laudable intentions, regrettably cannot be granted as it would be against the rules of the event.”
This report comes on the evening of the second semi-final which saw the final 10 countries go through to the Grand Final on Saturday, where 26 countries will compete for the title. As last year’s winners, Ukraine has gone through automatically, along with host the UK, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. Sweden is currently the favorite to win.
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