Eurovision organisers quit over ‘lack of transparency’

Ukraine officials say contest will go ahead despite resignations of 21 team members

Ukrainian singer Jamala, winner of the Eurovision song contest 2016, holds a placard during the draw for Eurovision 2017, in Kiev. File photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian singer Jamala, winner of the Eurovision song contest 2016, holds a placard during the draw for Eurovision 2017, in Kiev. File photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

 

Ukraine’s preparations to host the Eurovision song contest in May will not be derailed by the high-profile resignations of several organising members in a row over staffing and “transparency”, Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday.

A reported 21 members of the Ukraine Public Broadcaster (UA:PBC), including two executive producers, the event manager and head of security, have resigned from this year’s Eurovision team over “staffing matters”, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said.

The EBU, which founded the song contest in 1956, released a statement reiterating that the event would take place in Kiev in May.

It said: “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.”

Resignations

Among those who quit were executive producers Oleksandr Kharebin and Victoria Romanova and commercial director Iryna Asman, saying they felt sidelined by the appointment of a new event co-ordinator and worried by a lack of transparency in decision-making.

They also said a decision to increase the event’s budget to €29 million from €22 million would deprive Ukraine’s state broadcaster of €7-€8 million of profit.

Last year, Ukraine won the Eurovision song contest with the song 1944, performed by Jamala.

Reuters and PA