This year’s Eurovision Song Contest, due to take place in May, has been cancelled amid the continuing coronavirus outbreak, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has confirmed.
Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor for the annual song contest, said that restrictions imposed by many European governments made it impossible to go ahead with the live event as planned.
He added there are discussions around allowing Rotterdam to host the next contest in 2021.
A statement on the contest’s website said: “We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place.”
It added that postponing the event would have left uncertainty in the coming months and would have left the winner less time to prepare for the following competition, and that hosting the show remotely would not have been in keeping with the contest’s ‘DNA’ of bringing people together.
Discussions are also taking place about whether artists and songs selected to represent their respective countries this year will be allowed to perform at the contest in 2021.
Iceland, represented by Daði & Gagnamagnið, had been the favourites to win the contest; it would have been the first time the country would have come first, having previously come second in 1999 and 2009.
The United Kingdom was due to be represented by London singer-songwriter James Newman with the song ‘My Last Breath’.