Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been blocked from delivering a video message during the Eurovision Song Contest final because it is “against the rules”.
As reported by The Times, the Ukrainian leader had asked to make a video appearance during the contest’s Grand Final on Saturday, but his request was rejected by the event’s organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The EBU, an alliance of 112 member organisations which includes this year’s host broadcaster, the BBC, said it was concerned his appearance would risk politicising the event.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is an international entertainment show and governed by strict rules and principles which have been established since its creation. As part of these, one of the cornerstones of the contest is the non-political nature of the event,” a spokesperson said.
“The request by Mr Zelensky to address the audience at the Eurovision Song Contest, whilst made with laudable intentions, regrettably cannot be granted as it would be against the rules of the event.”
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the U.K. offered to host this year’s contest on behalf of the country. The BBC has said the broadcast is expected to be watched by more than 160 million viewers worldwide.
A total of 11 Ukrainian artists, including last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra, will be performing at the contest, which takes place in Liverpool, England on Saturday.
– Cover Media