Some are calling it the “deposit crisis” — the ongoing saga between Israeli broadcaster KAN and the Israeli government, over who will cover the €12 million security deposit required by the EBU if Israel is to host Eurovision 2019.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the government will not cover the deposit, claiming that KAN has €178 million available in its budget, more than enough to cover the deposit.
But KAN says hosting Eurovision is an additional expense that their budget doesn’t cover. That’s why they want the government to help out. And as always, if the production of Eurovision 2019 goes off with any major problems, the EBU will return the deposit.
Most recently, the government raised stakes by saying if KAN did forfeit hosting Eurovision, the government would have no option but to permanently close the broadcaster.
Now the European Broadcasting Union has waded into the sage. A spokesperson gave a statement to fanblog ESC Today:
“The EBU is working closely with KAN ahead of tomorrow’s deadline, on advancing arrangements for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. Every year financial guarantees must be made to the EBU before plans are put in place and the host city for the Eurovision Song Contest is announced. If a situation ever arose in which a broadcaster could not fulfil their requirements there are always contingency plans in place, as is normal when planning such a large event with many international stakeholders.”
This statement suggests that the EBU already has another country — or countries — on standby, ready to pick up the hosting duties if the Israeli parties cannot reach a decision and forfeit the hosting today.
Rumoured countries include 2018 runner-up Cyprus (though they do not have a suitable indoor venue to host); 2008 third-placed act Austria, who most recently hosted in 2015; and fourth-placed Germany, who hosted in 2011 and is often rumoured as the EBU’s backup country.
As things stand, no country has been publicly confirmed as the backup for 2019, though it is expected that the EBU would have privately made arrangements.
The EBU’s deadline for KAN to lodge the deposit ends today.