Sunday 25 June 2017

Eurovision in crisis as staff stage mass walkout

Eurovision co-ordinator Pavlo Hrytsak. Photo: Reuters
Eurovision co-ordinator Pavlo Hrytsak. Photo: Reuters
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest has been thrown into crisis after top level staff organising the event have quit.

The Ukrainian Eurovision team say they were stripped of major responsibilities in December, when a new boss was appointed to the organising committee.

According to their resignation letter, they were "completely blocked" from making decisions about the show.

However, Ukraine's public broadcaster has been told to "stick to the timeline" by founders EBU.

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.

They said preparations "stopped for almost two months" after the appointment of Eurovision co-ordinator Pavlo Hrytsak last year, adding, "the work of our team was completely blocked".

They also said a decision to increase the event's budget to €29m euro, up from €22m would deprive Ukraine's state broadcaster of millions in profit.

The EBU said it could not comment on the staffing matters raised in the letter.

Ukrainian singer Jamala won last year's event with the song 1944.

There has already been controversy over the decision to hold the Eurovision opening ceremony in the Saint Sophia complex, a well-known religious landmark which dates back to the 17th Century.

The use of the venue was called "blasphemy" by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy.

This year Ireland's entry will be performed by Hometown member Brendan Murray.

Irish Independent

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