The Reference Group, which is considered the governing institution of the Eurovision Song Contest, have met in Belgrade to look back at the 2010 edition of the competition and to discuss the framework of the 2011 contest in Germany. Important announcements have been made considering the October 1st rule and the number of participants in the final.
Executive producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 Sandra Šuša of Serbian broadcaster RTS is leaving the Reference group. During her speech she called the organisation of the contest the most exciting event in her professional life. Jon Ola Sand of NRK, executive producer of the 2010 contest in Oslo, received praise for his work and the excellent implementation of the motto Share the moment.
A request of moving the date that an entry is not allowed to have been released or publically performed before has been approved. The so-called 1st October rule has therefore become a 1st September rule. Previously, Belgian broadcaster RTBF had asked to move the date to as early as 1st May.
It has been decided that only four countries are directly qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011: Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom. As a big four country is also the host country next year, the question was raised whether Turkey, runner-up in 2010, might get the free spot in the final. Therefore, 24 countries will take part in the final next year.
The meetings of the Heads of Delegation will take place on 14th and 15th March in the host city, which is yet to be determined. 14th March is also the deadline to submit entries for 2011. The host city is expected to be announced in the upcoming weeks.