Preparations halted, Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in chaos – again!

This year’s contest has been hit by one scandal after the other, and just as we thought things finally ran smooth, the entire event is now in jeopardy again. The Core Team at NTU resigned. In the middle of all the problems, ticket sale is expected to start tomorrow.

WTF!?!? That seems to be the general reaction to the news that broke today about the Eurovision Core Team at NTU resigning from their roles. Executive producers Victoria Romanovaa and Oleksandr Kharebin as well as Iryna Asman, Denys Bloshchynski with his team and Oleksii Karaban saw no way forward and had to give up.

Ukrainian news website strana.ua quotes the reason for resigning from their source within the organization:

The failure of tender procedures. In fact, the schedule of tenders and contractors for major works derailed. This is about security and the organization’s main site, Euroclub, PR, TV production, hotel service, catering, transport services. In general, there is nothing even to the end of the ticket company is not chosen. Tender is stopped.

Despite the major setback, ticket sales are expected to start tomorrow, the 14th of February.

Following the decision from the NTU Core Team, the EBU released the following statement:

Victoria Romanova, Oleksandr Kharebin, Iryna Asman, Denys Bloshchynski and his team and Oleksii Karaban informed the EBU on 10th February that they were resigning from their roles for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. 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.

Further information regarding the core team of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be released in due course. The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Kyiv’s International Exhibition Centre on 9th, 11th and 13th May. Last year Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song 1944 performed by Jamala.

The now former Eurovision organization in Ukraine released the following statement:

In December, after our team has achieved confirmation from the EBU that the Eurovision Song Contest will be hold in Ukraine, we saw our powers taken off, since a new actual head of the contest in Ukraine has been appointed, who got the complete control over all the Eurovision aspects in Ukraine.

EurovisionWorld has a translation of the full statement

Timeline of events

  • 14th May 2016 – Jamala was crowned the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. Her song 1944 placed second in both the jury and the televote. However, combining these scores together it scored more points than Dami Im’s Sound of Silence  and was declared the winner of the competition.
  • 22nd July 2016 – Out of the six cities that had expressed an interest to host the contest, just three were shortlisted. These were Kyiv, Dnipro and Odessa.
  • 27th July 2016 – The date when the host city was to be confirmed. However, this was delayed due to concerns about suitable venues.
  • 9th September 2016 – After three sets of delays and a war of words between officials from Kyiv and Odessa, Kyiv was finally selected to host Eurovision in 2017.
  •  1st November 2016 – Things were thrown into even more dispute in October when Zurab Alasania, Director General of the NTU resigned over budget concerns.
  • 4th November 2016– Following Albania’s resignation just days before, it was expected that his deputy and head of delegation Victoria Romanova would step into his shoes. However Yevhen Nyschuk, Ukraine’s Minister of Culture stepped in and took over the responsibility of organizing the contest.
  • 14th November 2016 – A key press conference with the EBU was cancelled. The cause of cancellation was due to severe and unexpected snow fall in the capital. Some felt this was a tactic delay as even though there were some cancelled flights, public transport was back up and running within a couple of hours. The press conference took place the following day.
  • 27th November 2016 – Oleksandr Kherabin, Acting Director General at NTU announced that the EBU may decide to take the 2017 contest away from Ukraine.
  • 1st December 2016 – The executive producers of the contest were announced by the EBU. These were confirmed to be Victoria Romanova, Aleksandr Kherabin, Stuart Barlow. Denis Bloschinskiy was announced as the local event manager.
  • 4th December 2016 –  An anonymous member of the reference group spoke to German newspaper Bild. It was reported that the contest could be moved to Russia if Ukraine can not handle the preparations.
  • 5th December 2016 – The 2004 Eurovision winner Ruslana and Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman hit back at the ‘propaganda’ and stated that Ukraine are ready to host Eurovision.
  • 7th December 2016 – It was reported that the EBU were in negotiations with Ukraine to reverse the decision to ‘black list’ certain Russian artists to enter Ukraine.
  • 8th December 2016 – The European Broadcasting Union announced that Ukraine will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017.
  • 30th of December – NTU signed contract with Eurovision host venue.
  • 10th of February – NTU Eurovision Core Team informs EBU about their decision to resign.
  • 13th of February – The decision from the NTU Eurovision Core Team is publicly announced.

It is currently unknown what this decision means for the contest in May, but, with ticket sales still opening tomorrow, it seems unlikely that the contest will be moved to another location.

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