The European Broadcasting Union threw out their jury votes and alleged they’d arranged to swap votes with five other countries at Eurovision 2022.
But now Romania’s broadcaster TVR is hitting back. In a strongly worded statement it has threatened to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest. It may also pursue legal action against the EBU.
It accuses the EBU of applying its “non-transparent” algorithm unevenly, sanctioning some countries while letting others swap votes without raising suspicions.
Romania: TVR may withdraw from Eurovision 2023
As part of its response, TVR — like Montenegro before it — suggests there is a gross double standard at play when it comes to the six offending countries (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino). It points out that Sweden, Australia and Belgium also voted for each other…but their behaviour has not been deemed irregular.
- Australia: 12 points to Sweden, 8 points to Belgium
- Belgium: 10 points to Sweden, 8 points to Australia
- Sweden: 12 points to Australia, 8 points to Belgium
The difference, however, seems to be that if you remove the suspect countries, Australia, Belgium and Sweden still perform well. That is to say, they still would have thrived even without alleged swapping.
On Thursday the EBU explained:
“The pattern in question was detected as irregular by the pan-European Voting Partner and acknowledged by the Independent Voting Monitor, as five of these six countries were ranked outside the Top 8 by the juries in the 15 other countries voting in the same Semi-Final (which included three of the Big Five: Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom). Additionally, four of the six countries were ranked in the Bottom 6 of the other 15 countries voting in this Semi-Final. A jury voting pattern irregularity of such a scale is unprecedented.”
Romania: Statement on Eurovision 2022 allegations from EBU
“TVR disapproves of the way in which the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) handled the situation generated by the votes of the national juries during the semifinals and the final of the Eurovision 2022 competition votes were divided in a way that raised suspicions.”
“While some countries have been penalized, the jurors’ grades have been replaced by EBU grades – through a so-called non-transparent “algorithm”, which in turn raises suspicions – for others no sanctions have been applied. Worse, they received additional points, directed by the EBU on behalf of the penalized countries (details at the end of the press release).”
“The impact of these suspicions on the competition and on the reputation of the sanctioned televisions could have been completely eliminated if the EBU had communicated its concerns to the parties involved as soon as they were observed, ie on Wednesday, 11 May, after the second semi-final for the jury.”
“Had the EBU communicated to the delegations the notes given by the jurors of the six countries the day after the vote and convincingly explained the existence of an “irregular voting pattern,” TVR would have had time to react to promptly investigate the allegations and correct the situation, if any.”
“In this way, on Thursday, May 12, we could eliminate any suspicion that hovered over the votes given by the jurors during the second semifinal, and during the gala, for the public, the finalists could be announced based on the notes of the jurors, not on those generated by the “algorithm.””
“However, this would have been possible only if the EBU had treated TVR as a real partner and had taken into account the fact that the Eurovision Regulation is the one that gives full independence to national juries and that televisions can neither find out nor influence the scores. granted by jurors, than long after they were sent to the EBU. Thus, TVR did not find out until after the final the way in which the Romanian jurors voted in the semifinals.”
“Unfortunately, because the EBU decided to send us the relevant information only after seven days, all we could do was ask the Romanian jury for official explanations, “post-factum,” on the vote in the second semifinal. Even in this context, in which we have already been tried and sanctioned, without being given the opportunity to defend ourselves, TVR will collaborate with all other sanctioned televisions to find out if the reported irregularities were the result of an attempted fraud.”
“Another point to note is that the EBU has prevention and control mechanisms. When there is a suspicion of a jury, it may send observers to oversee the voting process. This is what happened this year when the EBU decided to send observers to two of the six sanctioned countries.”
“The conclusion of the observers was that the vote was regular and they did not report any misconduct or attempted fraud. This is one of the reasons why at the beginning of the final audition for the public, the EBU representative announced that all the votes cast by the jurors are valid.”
“In the case of these countries, the organizers did not report “irregular voting patterns.” Moreover, they were given the most points awarded, by “algorithm”, from the countries sanctioned for voting among themselves. Of the six countries accused of having an onerous deal to reach the final, only three succeeded. Of the three countries that received points by “algorithm” from sanctioned countries, all managed to enter the final.”
“The incomprehensible attitude of the EBU towards TVR, a traditional member of this organization, which deserves to be treated with respect, is also underlined by the fact that the Eurovision organizers chose to lie during the transmission of the final results of the competition. When it was Romania’s turn to announce the result of the jury’s vote, the organizers invoked a non-existent technical problem to present the notes provided by the “algorithm.””
“We reiterate what we said in our first statement: there was no technical problem! Eda Marcus was ready to go live, and the connection worked perfectly. The only reason we were forbidden to announce the vote of the Romanian jury, which had awarded 12 points to Moldova, was that we refused to accept the score imposed by the EBU.”
“Following the situation created and the image damage brought to the public television, the TVR representatives consider the withdrawal of Romania from the future editions of Eurovision and the action in court of the event organizers.”