Official withdrawal Serbia & Montenegro inevitable

by Sietse Bakker 562 views

Moments ago, broadcasters RTS (Serbia) and RTCG (Montenegro) announced their withdrawal from the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, after irregularities in their national final. The decision was taken after a board meeting of both broadcasters, during which both sides failed to reach an agreement. Internal sources confirmed that to esctoday.com. Yet, RTS and RTCG, the broadcasters of Serbia and Montenegro, didn't announce their withdrawal officially. Inside sources expect this to happen during the Heads of Delegation meeting in Athens, after this weekend. Meanwhile, the boards of the respective broadcasters still seem to try to reach an agreement.

As yet, the EBU report exclusively to esctoday.com that they have received no official declaration from RTS/RTCG that they will not be taking part in Athens. The broadcaster has, however, issued the following press statement:

“At today's meeting of the Executive Committee of the Association of SCG Public Radio and Television Stations, held in Belgrade, the members of that body, made up of the three presidents of both units, considered the problems which emerged during the selection of the SCG representative for the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, in a peaceful and tolerant atmosphere.

Referring to the authoritative report of the voting scrutineer, who stated that no irregularities took place during the technical procedure of voting, the RTCG representatives demanded confirmation of the selection of the song which had received the highest number of votes in the contest held on 11 March in Belgrade. That proposal was not accepted.

The RTS representatives defended their refusal to accept this proposal with the opinion that the voting of individual jury members insulted the spirit and etiquette of a competition for the best song and so, in substance, insulted the rules of the competition.

The RTS representatives offered that, as a common broadcast by both TV stations, a new pre-selection should be held at which five representatives each of the Montevizija and Beovizija festivals would take part. The winning song would, in that case, be decided by TV viewers through telephone and SMS voting.

The RTVCG representatives refused that proposal, considering that the contest had finished with victory for No Name.

The members of the Executive Committee representing RTCG did not accept the proposal to make emergency changes to the rules for selecting the SCG representative for the Eurovision Song Contest. Although agreeing that changes to the competition rules were essential, the RTVCG representatives stated that the precondition for that was – the confirmation of the SCG representative for this year's contest in Athens.

The RTVCG prepresentatives in the Executive Committee today, in view of the newly-emerged circumstances, opened the question of whether there was any sense in the future existence of UJRT joint SCG broadcasting body and announced the possibility of resigning from membership of that body, in the appropriate legal procedure.

On the basis of the facts set out here , the president of the UJRT Executive Committee, Aleksandar Tijanic, has stated that no SCG representative for the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens has been determined.”

The UJRT is a body comprising representatives from both Serbian broadcaster RTS and its Montenegrin counterpart RTCG, which exists to bring the two companies together due to their joint membership of the EBU. The board has six members, three from each of the two member companies, meaning that neither side has a majority.

RTS News had reported earlier that if no decision was reached by the UJRT board, Serbia and Montenegro would not compete in Athens. The story in turn has already been picked up by several news concerns outside Serbia and Montenegro, including Sky and BBC News.

For now, no further details about Serbia & Montenegro's withdrawal are known yet. As soon as more official news reaches us, we will update you.

To be continued!

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