When debts and financial turmoil hinder and marr Eurovision participation

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 913 views

Financial turmoil and stiff debts afflicting national broadcasters have marred the Eurovision participation in some countries recently. The global financial crisis has also taken a stride on our favorite television show and its participants in the last decade.

Money, money, money…

Money has indeed been a hindrance for some countries off late and withheld them from partaking in Europe’s favorite television.

Financial crisis takes its toll

In recent years several countries  have withdrawn from the competition due to financial reasons. Such was the case in 2013 when Portugal and Bosnia & Herzegovina and in 2014 when Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Serbia all opted to stay out of the competition due to monetary reasons.

Apart from the heavy expense of participating in the Eurovision Song Contest, the financial crisis has taken its toll in several European countries and thus affected the function of their respective national broadcasters.

Heavy debts have obliged the European Broadcasting Union to sanction some of the participating countries in the Eurovision Song Contest. Let’s have a closer look at 3 of the broadcasters who have faced sanctions and have been blocked from competing in our beloved song festival in recent years.

TVR and Romania

In 2016, Romanian broadcaster TVR was sanctioned and banned from participating at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm due to its heavy debts. The EBU barred the country from partaking in the competition just a few weeks before contest.

On 22 April 2016, the EBU released the following statement regarding its sanction against TVR:

The EBU has withdrawn member services from Romanian public service broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) following the non-payment of debts totalling CHF 16 million. TVR will now no longer be able to participate in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and will lose access to other EBU member services including the Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, the right to broadcast specific sporting events, legal, technical and research expertise and lobbying services.

Romania had hosted its annual Eurovision national selection in 2016 and had even selected its Eurovision act and entry. Thus Ovidiu Anton was unable to fly to Stockholm and defend the Romanian colours at the 2016 ESC in Sweden.

Due to the membership withdrawal implemented by the EBU, the Romanian national broadcaster  was not be able to air the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest as it didn’t have a broadcast signal from Stockholm.

TVR settled its debt and returned to the contest in 2017 and has confirmed participation at the forthcoming 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon.

BHRT and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnian national broadcaster withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 and was absent from the competition for 3 years in a row, returning in 2016. BHRT withdrew from the contest again in 2017 and confirmed to ESCToday last September its non participation at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, stating that it was currently under EBU’s sanction due to its financial problems and hence ineligible to enter the competition in 2018.

The broadcaster is facing massive problems sustaining itself and is struggling to collect fees in order to function.

MRT and FYR Macedonia

FYR Macedonia is the latest country to be barred from participating in our Eurovision Song Contest. Currently the public broadcaster of the Balkan nation is ineligible to participate at next year’s Eurovision edition. ESCToday contacted the EBU regarding this issues and got the following answer:

As a result of non-payment of debt, FYROM’s public service broadcaster Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) currently does not have access to the EBU’s Member services, including the Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, the right to broadcast specific sporting events, legal, technical and research expertise and lobbying services. MRT will also not participate in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest as things stand but will continue to take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in November.

ESCToday has also got in touch with the Macedonian broadcaster regarding this matter and is currently awaiting an official statement from MRT. The broadcaster has been tight-lipped regarding their Eurovision 2018 plans and participation.

Thus given the current situation afflicting the Macedonian broadcaster and its stiff debts, the country is  currently blocked from participating at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest even though it has been given the go ahead to participate at the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Tbilisi next month.

We believe that the national broadcaster of FYR Macedonia did submit an application in order to participate at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon. We must not forget that MRT has not confirmed its participation at the 2018 ESC either.

We hope that MRT resolves and overcomes its financial issues soon and is eligible to participate at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon next year.

The official list of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest participating countries is expected to be released in due course.

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