Simon Bennett, President of OGAE International, issued this statement, which was sent out to the various branches of the official Eurovision fan club.
“It is with regret that the Bureau has decided to cancel this year’s OGAE Song Contest.”
“The current circumstances mean that it has proved impossible to hold this year’s contest within our traditional spirit of friendly competition.”
“We would like to thank OGAE Australia for all their hard work preparing this year’s contest and to invite them to host the 2023 contest.”
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The OGAE Song Contest is an annual event organised by OGAE — the Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l’Eurovision, or General Organisation of Eurovision Fans — in which the members of OGAE compete with an original song released in their countries. The song has to have been released in the previous year and be mostly sung in one of the country’s national languages.
Australia won the last edition of the contest with “Fly Away” from Tones and I, giving them the right to host this year’s event.
This year, 30 clubs decided to participate — including those from Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian club subsequently issued a statement, writing that Russia’s participation goes against the values of Eurovision. You’ll recall that the EBU excluded Russia from Eurovision 2022, citing its invasion of Ukraine.
OGAE International subsequently held a vote and a “two-thirds majority” of the international fan clubs decided to allow the Russian club to remain in the competition. Many fans point out that it is the Russian government — not its Eurovision fans — who are waging war.