Eurovision in crisis after walkout of 21 key staff members
The Eurovision Song Contest has been shaken by a wave of high level resignations, but chiefs have insisted the show will go on.
News emerged today that 21 top level staff, responsible for organising the event, resigned.
The Ukrainian Eurovision team say they were side-lined and stripped of major responsibilities in December, when a new boss was appointed, it is reported.
According to their resignation letter, they were "completely blocked" from making decisions about the show.
An open letter penned by the former staff reads:
"Hereby we, the Eurovision team, for whom this contest has become not only part of our work but also part of our life, officially inform that we are resigning and stopping work on preparations for the organisation of the contest."
However, Ukraine's public broadcaster has been told to "stick to the timeline" by founders EBU.
The event is due to be staged in Kiev in May, but concerns have emerged following the resignations. Ukranian singer Jamala won the competition last year but organising the event in Kiev has proved difficult from the beginning, even before the en-masse walkout
This year Ireland's entry will be performed by Hometown member Brendan Murray, who will perform a yet-to-be-revealed song.
The EBU, which founded the event in 1956, released a statement thanking those for their work and reiterated that the event would take place in Kiev in May.
It said: "The group felt they were not able to continue work on the project owing to staffing matters at UA:PBC, which the EBU cannot fully comment on."
"The team have been instrumental in the planning for this year's Eurovision Song Contest and we thank them for their hard work
"We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes, and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the reference group to ensure a successful contest in May."
Among those who quit were executive producers Oleksandr Kharebin and Victoria Romanova and commercial director Iryna Asman.