Three months to the day before the Eurovision 2017 final and there’s major news coming out of Ukraine. Today the show’s very well-respected Executive Producers Victoria Romanova and Oleksandr Kharebin resigned from their roles. A number of other members of the Eurovision 2017 organising team have also left their positions alongside the two producers — signalling widespread discontent within NTU as the contest draws near.
In a quote from their statement, which you can read in full here, Victoria and Oleksandr reveal that in December 2016 an unnamed individual “took power, appointing a new head of the actual contest in Ukraine, who was given complete control of all aspects of Eurovision in Ukraine.”
It’s rumoured by Ukrainian media that the mystery man is Paul Grytsak, who took over as Deputy Director of Ukrainian broadcaster NTU in mid-December, after Zurab Alasania resigned over budgetary constraints, among other things. This came shortly after Romanova and Kharebin met with Jon Ola Sand and Kyiv was officially confirmed as the host city.
Watch: Victoria Romanova & Oleksandr Kharebin speak about Eurovision in December
No matter who was appointed, Romanova and Kharebin claim that as a result work has been delayed by two months.
Speaking to Strana, one source said that this involves the failure of tender procedures. “In fact, the schedule of tenders and identification of contractors have been practically derailed,” the source said. “It includes works planned on the main venue, Euroclub, PR, TV production, hotel service, catering etc. In general, there is nothing there yet, even the ticket agent was not chosen, the tender has been cancelled.”
Later on in their statement, Romanova and Kharebin cite the “lack of transparency in decision-making” as another factor. This is perhaps linked to the delay in ticket sales, after the initial awarding of the contract was ruled unfair by a Ukrainian court.
Despite attempts to compromise with NTU and the new team in charge, things have clearly broken down and the working team sees no other option but to resign. The now ex-producers paid credit to their team in the statement. It ends: “We are sincerely thankful to the entire team for their many months of work, professionalism and dedication.”
So, where does this leave Ukraine now? Neither NTU nor the EBU are yet to respond to any of the specific claims made by the former executive producers.
However, the EBU did release the following statement, which thanked the outgoing producers.
We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes, and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the Reference Group to ensure a successful Contest in May.
Further information regarding the core team of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be released in due course.
As it stands, the contest is still set to go ahead on time in Kyiv.