In news that has come as a complete surprise to many fans, the EBU has announced that Romania will not be allowed to compete as part of this year’s contest in Stockholm. The European Broadcasting Union has withdrawn the Romanian broadcaster TVR, as they have failed to pay debts owing to the EBU. The debt, now reached 16 million, needed to be paid as by the deadline set by the EBU, which was on the 20th of April 2016 – however TVR has failed to do so, and will now face the consequences.
This decision not only affects their Eurovision participation, but TVR will now lose access to other EBU services such as Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, plus the right to be able to broadcast certain sporting events, plus the access to legal, technical and research expertise.
The decision was made regretfully, and the EBU Director General has said: “It is regrettable that we are forced to take this action. We are disappointed that all our attempts to resolve this matter have received no response from the Romanian government. In recent weeks the EBU has taken note of the Ministry of Finance’s suggestion that TVR may be placed into insolvency proceedings which may in turn lead to a profound restructuring of the broadcaster. The EBU is a not-for-profit association which represents 73 Public Service Broadcasters in 56 countries. The continued indebtedness of TVR jeopardizes the financial stability of the EBU itself.”
What does this mean for Eurovision?
Essentially, Romania is out of the running for this year’s contest, leaving 42 countries still in the running. Practically, the running order will not be changed, however as part of the consequences for the unpaid debt, TVR will not have the chance to broadcast Eurovision 2016 in Romania. There is no statement regarding future participation, however it is likely that Romania may be out of the contest until the broadcaster is financially stable enough to enter.
As for the official CD, accreditation and tickets – nothing really changes. Romania will remain on the official CD and available for digital download with respect to Ovidiu Anton, who would have been Romania’s participating act had this situation not have happened. Romanian press who have their accreditation approved will not lose their accreditation, however it will be moved to the international delegation, which contains press from non-competing countries. Tickets for the show sold to Romanian fans are still valid.
What does this mean for Ovidiu Anton?
We recognise that this is a major disappointment for Ovidiu, who after 5 attempts at Eurovision finally had the opportunity to represent his country – now with that opportunity taken away from him once again. Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the contest has said, “This is of course disappointing for the artist chosen to represent Romania, for our colleagues at TVR who have prepared their participation so well this year and, not least, for Romanian viewers and the many Eurovision fans in the country,”
There is no doubt that this is a shame for the artist, however a necessary decision made on behalf of the EBU. Some fans have started petitions stating that the contest organisers should allow Ovidiu Anton to perform non-competitively as an interval act, however this is uncertain at this stage. With rehearsals starting soon, IF this was to happen, we will hear about it promptly from SVT.
Down below is a short statement issued by Jon Ola Sand: