The official deadline for broadcasters to enter the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest passed at midnight tonight (CET). Now those responsible for the running of the competition will sit down and analyse the submissions. They will look at the number of countries that have submitted entries and determine the cost of entry for each, based on a fixed yet comlicated formula. They will discuss the fees of the competition with the broadcasters that have applied to participate.
On Monday, Svante Stockselius told esctoday.com that "the preliminary list of participating countries will be announced in the beginning of December and the final list in the beginning of January".
The prelimiary list will contain the names of the countries that submitted entries before last night's deadline, unless any countries withdraw before the announcement. This list may contain more than 40 names.
Once the initial list is published, broadcasters have a small amount of time to withdraw without penalty. Countries may consider issues such as costs and practical implications of participation and decide that they will not participate in 2007. Withdrawal after that time may result in their fees not being returned or at worst, a three year ban from the competition.
There is a complicated formula for determining the fees that each broadcaster must pay for entry to the competition. It includes consideration ofthe wealth and population of each nation. The highest fees are currently paid by Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain – the so-called 'Big Four'. Should Italy re-enter the competition, they would pay a comparable fee to the Big Four, and thus may be granted an automatic place in the Eurovision Song Contest final under the current rules. Other countriesamongstthe highest fee payersafter the current Big Four include the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.
Once broadcasters have been presented with the fees and any final changes to the situation are made, including the possibility of rejecting entries should the number of remaining willing participants be above the magic '40', the final list of participating countries will then be announced.