Reference Group Chairman reveals that Russia was “called to order” over Julia Samoylova selection


At the end of June the European Broadcasting Union revealed that it had dealt Ukraine a “substantial fine” over its decision to ban Russia’s Eurovision 2017 singer Julia Samoylova.

“As a result of this, attention was drawn away from the competition and the brand reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest was endangered,” the EBU said in a statement.

“Therefore the contest’s steering committee … has recommended that UA:PBC should receive a substantial fine, in line with the rules of the competition.”

Ukraine dealt “substantial fine” over Russia Eurovision dispute and organisational delays

At the time a number of fans were up in arms.

Many thought that Russia had baited Ukraine by choosing a singer who had illegally entered Crimea, and had gotten off without censure.

But on Friday Frank-Dieter Freiling — the chairman of the EBU Reference Group — made it clear that Russia did, in fact, receive an undisclosed penalty.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, in an article written by wiwiblogger William Lee Adams, he said:

“Russia has been called to order in a different way, but without making that public. Both parties involved have been commented on.”

The article does not elaborate on precisely how Russia was called to order. However, the EBU is known to have a number of tools in its penalty kit. It could have doled out a fine, as with Ukraine, or threatened to withdraw rights to other programmes distributed by Eurovision.

That revelation will do much to quell the anger among fans who felt that Ukraine had been drawn into a trap by the Russian broadcaster.

Although the EBU did not reveal the fine it dealt the Ukrainian broadcaster, Ukrainian media offered clues.

Zurab Alasania, the head of the Ukrainian broadcaster, said on television that the fine was up to 200,000 euros.

Russia’s Julia Samoylova to Billboard: The Eurovision ban hurt me, but I never give up

New rules for Eurovision 2018

Following this year’s controversial back-and-forth between Ukraine and Russia, the EBU has introduced a new clause to its official rules that wards off the selection of singers who may have broken the laws of the host country.

The new clause says:  “Neither the selected artist nor any member of the delegation shall have any antecedents likely to prompt the host country’s national authorities to deny them access to the host country, in accordance with applicable national law.”

What do you think of the fact that Russia has been penalised? Are you a fan of the new clause in the rules? Let us know below. 

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