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Thursday, November 14, 2013

EBU on Russia and hosting

A lot of stories have gone around in the last few days that the EBU should have put its foot down and told Russian television in no uncertain terms that the current anti-gay legislation would make it more or less impossible for them to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

It is hardly a secret that a large part of the fan community are gay and that the ESC has a strong standing within European LGBT communities. Of course it would be a tricky situation if a large portion of the fans attending the event on location would risk ending up in prison.

Needless to say that this piece of news was welcomed with enthusiasm around the net. But was it true? Had the EBU really spoken up on the matter?

According to Gay Star News, the EBU had sent an official letter to the Russian broadcasters, voicing concerns that these could be unable to guarantee the security of Eurovision delegates in the event of Russia being the host country again. An anonymous member of the Swedish delegation was quoted as saying Sweden would pull out of a contest staged in Russia under the current circumstances.

This looks like quite a clear stand, right?

But in a statement published today, contest supervisor Jon Ola Sand calls the situation "completely undramatic" and says there is no reason to believe Russia could not host the contest. The EBU underlines that Russia has already hosted the ESC very successfully in the past.

Of course the EBU can't go around singling out member countries as unfit for hosting. Where would you draw the line for what is acceptable and what isn't? If Russia did not match the host criteria, should they even be allowed to take part? And what other countries should be thrown out in that case?

But then we shouldn't credit the EBU for doing something they haven't done and even are pretty unlikely to do at all. For them, this is not a problem until the day when Russia wins. If even then.

Copyright: EBU

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