UK asked to host Eurovision 2023 after Ukraine ruled out

Sam Ryder performs on stage during Eurovision

The UK could host Eurovision 2023, with talks beginning after organisers ruled out holding the Song Contest in Ukraine.

Traditionally, the country that wins Eurovision is asked to host the following year’s event.

But Ukraine, which swept to victory in the 2022 contest, has been ruled out from hosting “with deep regret” by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the contest.

The EBU announced on Friday (17 June) that “safety and security issues” arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant it would not be possible for the Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC) to pull off the show.

“As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner-up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom,” the EBU said in a statement.

It added: “It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts.”

The BBC confirmed it will now enter talks to host Eurovision, scheduled for May 2023.

“We have seen the announcement from the EBU. Clearly, these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want,” the BBC said.

“Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra hold the Eurovision trophy and a Ukraine flag

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra emerged victorious in 2022’s Eurovision. (AFP via Getty/ MARCO BERTORELLO)

The decision raised immediate questions about where in the UK Eurovision could be held.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the capital would gladly have the honour

“Londoners would welcome Eurovision with open arms,” he tweeted.

“We’re ready to step up and support Ukraine by hosting a contest that pays tribute to and honours the Ukrainian people, and also celebrates the very best of Britain too.”

But Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has other ideas. “We wish @Eurovision could be in Ukraine but understand that in circumstances this isn’t possible,” she said.

“However, I can think of a perfect venue on banks of the River Clyde!!”

News that the UK – which came a surprising second place in this year’s Eurovision – might get a shot at hosting the contest for the first time since 1998 set Twitter into full-on inaudible gay screaming mode.

Kalush Orchestra, a Ukrainian rap and folk band, won the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest with a thumping 631 points in a stunning show of solidarity from 39 countries across the globe.

The UK’s entry, Sam Ryder, rose to second place with 466 votes in what was the best result for the nation since 1998.