Despite internet rumours that more than 40 countries might participate in next year's Eurovision Song Contest, Svante Stockselius clearly stated that 40 is the maximum amount of participants.
Stockselius, supervisior of the contest at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), confirmed to esctoday.com that again one of the rules says that 40 countries is the maximum number of participants. With 14 countries directly qualified for the final, 26 spots are left open for semifinal participants.
Meanwhile, there is no reason to believe that one of last year's 36 participants will stay home in 2005. The public broadcasters of Luxembourg, Italy and Bulgaria have already clearly stated that they won't be participating next year. Meanwhile Télé Liban already confirmed Lebanon's participation. In regards to Moldova and the Czech Republic, it's unsure whether they'll be present. If we may believe OGAE Germany, Hungary may also return to the Eurovision stage next year. For as long as no official list of participants is available, speculations continue as many try to piece the puzzle together!
The next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Kiev, Ukraine, on the 21st May 2005. The qualifier round takes place two days earlier, on May 19th.