Eurovision 2018 – The Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, Frank-Dieter Freiling, has revealed in an interview to Eurovision.de that the Reference Group will consider what sanctions may be applied to Ukraine and Russia in response to Julia Samoylova’s selection and travel ban.
Frieling does not hold, back on the Ukraine – Russia issue saying it was a “propaganda campaign on both sides” and that Ukraine got themselves caught by a Russian media trap. He also reveals sanctions were threatened immediately and that the EBU contract with Ukraine said all artists selected must be allowed entry, and therefore they must be sanctioned. Russia will be sanctioned for not attending Heads of Delegation meetings. Sanctions can range from a fine, or the withdrawal of sponsor’s funding, to a suspension of up to three years.
Frieling was not impressed with the three presenters in Kyiv saying they left nothing to be remembered.
Frieling also confirmed that the EBU requires a bidding process, which is why Lisbon cannot be named as the host city immediately.
Also to be discussed at the Reference Group’s meeting on 12th June are topics such as whether the Ukraine – Russia issue was similar to previous rule breaking by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Spain; what lessons can be learnt regarding the problems in organising Kyiv; how could small countries such as Moldova or San Marino host the contest if they won; and if there are to be any EBU changes in advance of Portugal hosting in 2018 to ensure organisation is on track and there is no repeat of Kyiv’s organisational issues.
The Reference Group is established by the Television Committee and its tasks are :
- approving the development and future format of the ESC;
- securing the financing of the ESC;
- modernising the brand and raising awareness of the ESC;
- overseeing the yearly preparation by the Host Broadcaster.
The Reference Group meets four to five times each year on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters, and is required to take decisions in the general interest of the ESC.
The Reference Group is composed of the following members :
- The Chairman – Frank-Dieter FREILING (ZDF);
- Three elected members from among the Heads of Delegations – Emilie SICKINGHE (AVROTROS), Nicola CALIGIORE (RAI), Aleksander RADIC (RTVSLO);
- Two Executive Producers from previous host countries, as well as the Executive Producer of the current Host Broadcaster – Martin OSTERDAHL (SVT);
- The EBU Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor – Jon Ola SAND (EBU).