Russia has been excluded from Eurovision 2022. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced that the country will not participate in the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in May in the Italian city of Turin, as a result of the war started by the government of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Thus, the organizing body of the event has changed its mind and has reacted to the protests of other European countries against Russia's continued competition. It is the latest major event in the entertainment and sports sectors to turn its back on Russia, following the cancellation of the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the decision by UEFA to move this year's Champions' League final from St Petersburg to Paris.
Specifically, Ukraine was the first to demand a ban on Russia's participation in Eurovision. It is worth noting, however, that at first the EBU opposed the Russian veto, arguing that the annual Song Contest "is a cultural event, not a political one." But the situation turned around as a result of the Russian attack. With the entry of the Russian army into Kyiv, more countries joined the request for Russian exclusion. Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark all called on the organization to expel the Russian Federation from this year's finals of the contest to be held from May 10th to14th.
The EBU statement states that "the Executive Board of the EBU made the decision following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest's governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU." It also noted that "the decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute." However, the statement ends by emphasising that the body remains "dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage."
Formula 1 and Champions League leave Russia
Russia's veto in the Eurovision Song Contest has not been the only change made to a major event in order to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. The Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix has also been cancelled, although it has not yet been revealed which alternative location will take the place of the championship race. The Formula 1 governing body, the FIA, stated today that, as an activity that goes around the world with a "positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together" it was "impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances."
In addition, the premiere international football event of the year, the final of the UEFA Champions League to be held on May 28th, and planned for St Petersburg, has left Russian territory and will be played at the Stade de France in Paris. The executive committee of the continental football body met yesterday urgently after the Russian military incursion into Ukrainian territory and "the serious escalation of the security situation in Europe," announcing the move as well as strongly condemning the action of the Russian army. It also decided that although Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in UEFA will still be able to take part in competitions, they will have to play their home games on neutral grounds until further notice.