Eurovision 2023: Newcastle could host iconic event as Ukraine pull out

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It is looking likely that the UK will host Eurovision 2023 after Ukraine pulls out of holding event

It is looking increasingly likely that the UK will host Eurovision 2023 instead of Ukraine next year.

In a statement released today the European Broadcasting Union announced that it had come to an agreement with Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC and external specialists that next year's event could not be held in the country.

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The war-torn nation is still in aNewcastle yet to arrive in UK"> state of crisis following the invasion of Russian troops earlier this year.

European viewers rallied behind Ukraine at this year's Eurovision to crown them winners in an act of support.

As a result, having finished second in this year's event, the United Kingdom is now in talks to potentially hold the event next year.

Should that be confirmed, many will think that London is a given city to host the event.

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However, most years Eurovision doesn't take place in the capital city and shines a light on another location.

Ukraine won the 2022 eventUkraine won the 2022 event
Ukraine won the 2022 event

This year it was in Turin rather than Rome, in 2021 it was in Rotterdam rather than Amsterdam and in 2019 it was in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem.

Having hosted what claimed to be the UK's biggest Eurovision party next year, there is clearly an appetite for the cooky song festival on Tyneside.

It is hypothesis for now, but this is why Newcastle could hold the 2023 event.

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Why can't Ukraine host Eurovision 2023?

Ukraine won't be able to host next year's event due to ongoing crisis in the country caused by a Russian invasion.

A statement from the ECB read: "It has become a well-known tradition that the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest hosts the competition the following year, providing certain criteria including ensuring the viability of staging the event and the safety of all stakeholders, including the public, are met.

"Given the ongoing war since the Russian invasion of this year’s winning country, the EBU has taken the time to conduct a full assessment and feasibility study with both UA:PBC and third-party specialists including on safety and security issues.

"The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most complex TV productions in the world with thousands working on, and attending, the event and 12 months of preparation time needed.

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"Following objective analysis, the Reference Group, the ESC’s governing board, has with deep regret concluded that, given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC.

"The EBU would like to thank UA:PBC for their wholehearted cooperation and commitment in exploring all scenarios in the weeks since Kalush Orchestra’s win on 14 May in Turin and share their sadness and disappointment that next year’s Contest cannot be held in Ukraine."

What criteria does a city need to meet to host Eurovision - and is Newcastle viable?

There are many requirements that a city must meet in order to hold Eurovision and the event's website highlights the key ones.

It states: "The venue should accommodate around 10,000 spectators and the city should be within easy reach of an international airport.

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Newcastle's Utilita Arena will be welcoming some huge names to Tyneside this year.Newcastle's Utilita Arena will be welcoming some huge names to Tyneside this year.
Newcastle's Utilita Arena will be welcoming some huge names to Tyneside this year.

"The location must also have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, accredited journalists and spectators."

The 2023 event would come just one year too early for the new Sage Gateshead development.

The future 12,500-capacity venue is in the process of being built and would surely leap at the chance to hold such a landmark event in its early days, but it sadly comes too soon.

In Newcastle, the Utilita Arena has a seating capacity of over 11,000 people so would tick that box in the criteria.

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It is also accessible by road and public transport with plenty of space around it if needed.

Newcastle also has a well-connected international airport.

The airport is preparing for one of the busiest periods of the yearThe airport is preparing for one of the busiest periods of the year
The airport is preparing for one of the busiest periods of the year

The city's two universities, Newcastle College and other venues are also within walking distance from the Utilita Arena and could function for journalists.

With plenty of hotels in Newcastle and Gateshead, as well as all along the Metro line, space for 2,000 delegates, accredited journalists and spectators also shouldn’t pose a problem.

Where will Eurovision 2022 most likely be held?

London venues aside, there are several big enough in the UK to meet the Eurovision requirements and have a nearby international airport.

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Those include the AO Arena in Manchester, Utilita Arena in Birmingham, First Direct Arena in Leeds, M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool and the OVO Hydro in Glasgow.

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but sources are being quoted in the press stating that Glasgow will be the chosen host city if the UK does take on the event.

Some of that speculation comes from the fact that the OVO Hydro has no events listed for May 2023, when Eurovision would take place.

However, the Utilita Arena in Newcastle is also yet to list any events for that date.

Leaders in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow have issued statements of ambition to hold the event so far today.

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