The United Kingdom said Monday that it will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest instead of Ukraine, despite the latter winning the competition in 2022.
The European Broadcasting Union said the Russian invasion of Ukraine forced them to look at other potential host countries, the BBC reported.
Several cities including London, Manchester and Sheffield have put their names in to host the competition due to their suitable arenas, accommodation and international transport links.
“We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us,” said Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of Ukraine’s public broadcasting.
The official bidding process is slated to start this week with the final determination coming later in the summer.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a co-production of the host broadcaster and participating members of the European Broadcasting Union,” said a spokesperson for the BBC. “There are a number of funding options to be explored that will contribute toward delivering a fantastic event and great value for license fee payers.”
As of now, there is no official date for the competition, but the Grand Finale is held in May.
Ukraine is already set to qualify for the finale along with the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.
Chernotytskyi also assured fans that even though the competition will not be held in Ukraine, it will be “in support of Ukraine.”
“I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent,” Chernotytskyi said.