Eurovision Song Contest 2023 to be hosted in the UK as Leeds to make bid on behalf of Ukraine

The UK is to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC have confirmed.

Monday, 25th July 2022, 12:44 pm

The Ukrainian entry, Kalush Orchestra, won the competition in Turin, Italy, this year and it is traditional that the winning country hosts the event the following year.

After their victory, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that, following a “full assessment and feasibility study”, it had concluded the “security and operational guarantees” required to host the event could not be fulfilled by Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC.

On Thursday, it was announced that the BBC, as national broadcaster of the UK, which was the 2022 runner-up, has been invited to act as host for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.

Leeds will bid to host Eurovision 2023 at the First Direct Arena. Pictured inset: The Eurovision Song Contest 2022 winners Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine.

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    Martin Osterdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s executive supervisor, said: “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.

    “The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event.”

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    Leeds will be bidding to host the 2023 competition.

    Leeds City Council, together with the operators of the First Direct Arena in Leeds, have already been in touch with the Government and the BBC to discuss the plans.

    The leader of Leeds City Council, James Lewis, and the council's executive member for economy and culture, Jonathan Pryor, said last month that the competition "could not come at a better time."

    In a joint statement, Coun Lewis and Coun Pryor said: "Leeds has already proved that it has the capability and capacity to host major international events and ASM Global successfully hosted Eurovision in the Avicii Arena, Stockholm, in 2016.

    "We are extremely disappointed that Ukraine will be unable to host in 2023, but it would be an honour to host on behalf of them, especially given that West Yorkshire is home to a large number of Ukrainians.

    "If we are successful with our bid, we will be looking to get the local Ukrainian community involved with our plans as much as possible."