Friday 24 November 2017

Eurovision to name juries over vote-fixing fears

Shay Healy says the new voting rules will 'make it a song contest again'
Shay Healy says the new voting rules will 'make it a song contest again'
Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

EUROVISION winner Shay Healy has welcomed a move to make the voting of juries more transparent, after claims that votes had been bought in previous contests.

From next year, the names of each country's jury will be disclosed ahead of the event, in a move towards openness and accountability.

And for the first time, individual juror scores will also be published immediately after the final.

"This is a great move and hopefully will make it a song contest again and open it up to good writers. These are kind of moves I was suggesting last year," said Healy.

The 70-year-old songwriter has served on several Irish juries, including the 2013 panel, and penned 1980 Irish Eurovision winner 'What's Another Year', sung by Johnny Logan.

The introduction of the new rules comes after an investigation by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the annual event, into claims that jury members were offered bribes during this year's contest in Malmo, Sweden.

Reports in the Swedish press had claimed that attempts had been made by several delegates to fix votes with Azerbaijan. It was reported as offering jury members "enough money to live off for a year".

Meanwhile, British entrant Bonnie Tyler, who came 19th out of 26 at the contest last May, had told a French newspaper she had overheard Russians asking why they didn't get votes they had "bought".

"The next day the Russians were complaining to Azerbaijan, 'Why didn't you give us the 10 points we paid for?'," she said.

"Excuse me? 'We paid for'? Is this a competition?" she added.

Speaking after the announcement of the changes, Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the contest on behalf of EBU/Eurovision, said the tighter rules and increased openness are "important", to ensure that "participants, viewers and fans know that we have done and will always do our utmost to secure a fair result".

Irish Independent

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