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Eurovision Song Contest cancelled amid coronavirus pandemic

The 65th edition was due to take place in Rotterdam in May.

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Programme Name: Eurovision 2020 – TX: n/a – Episode: n/a (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: Graham Norton, James Newman – (C) BBC Studios – Photographer: Guy Levy

Programme Name: Eurovision 2020 – TX: n/a – Episode: n/a (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: Graham Norton, James Newman – (C) BBC Studios – Photographer: Guy Levy

Programme Name: Eurovision 2020 – TX: n/a – Episode: n/a (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: Graham Norton, James Newman – (C) BBC Studios – Photographer: Guy Levy

The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam has been cancelled over coronavirus fears, organisers have said.

The 65th edition of the event had been set to take place in May, with entries from 41 countries participating.

It is the first time the event has not taken place since it began 64 years ago.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement: “It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam.

“Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.

“However the uncertainty created by the spread of Covid-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.

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It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam. . Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead. . However the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities - means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned. . We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May. . The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue a conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021. . We would ask people to bear with us while we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await any further news in the coming days and weeks. . We would like to pay tribute to all the host broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 Members who have worked so hard on planning this year’s event. . We are all as heartbroken as they are that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May and know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.

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“We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May.

“The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue a conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021.

“We would ask people to bear with us while we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await any further news in the coming days and weeks.

“We would like to pay tribute to all the host broadcaster teams in the Netherlands and our 41 Members who have worked so hard on planning this year’s event.

“We are all as heartbroken as they are that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May and know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.”

Graham Norton with James Newman, who was due to represent the UK this year at Eurovision (Guy Levy/BBC Studios/PA)

The 2020 contest was supposed to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with two semi-finals on May 12 and 14 followed by the final at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena on May 16.

James Newman had been the UK’s entry and was hoping his track My Last Breath could bring success.

After the decision was announced, he said on Twitter: “I’m of course absolutely gutted to not be going to Rotterdam this year for Eurovision but I completely stand by the EBU’s decision as it’s more important for everyone to remain safe during these unprecedented times – artists, delegations and fans alike.”

He added: “Stay safe everyone.”

A statement from the BBC, which broadcasts the contest in the UK, said: “We, like the EBU, are incredibly sad that the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 has been cancelled, but completely support the EBU’s decision with the uncertainty around Covid-19 throughout Europe and beyond.”

Eurovision is the latest high-profile entertainment event to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The world famous Coachella music festival had originally been set to take place in the California desert in April before being postponed until October.

On Tuesday, the Billboard Music Awards and the Bafta TV awards were postponed while the Olivier Awards were cancelled.

Major film releases have also been disrupted. James Bond movie No Time To Die has been postponed until November and Disney’s blockbuster remake of Mulan has also been delayed.

Musicians including Sir Elton John, Billie Eilish and Celine Dion have all postponed tour dates.

PA Media