Eurovision 2017 | Organising committee quits en masse

Twenty-one top level staff members of the Eurovision Song Contest’s organising committee have resigned two months after the appointment of a new deputy general director

15 February 2017, 4:29pm
Ukraine won the right to stage the 62nd Eurovision contest after Ukrainian contestant Jamala won last year
Ukraine won the right to stage the 62nd Eurovision contest after Ukrainian contestant Jamala won last year
Twenty-one Ukrainian Eurovision Song Contest organisers have resigned from their posts in protest of their boss, Pavlo Grytsak, claiming they were stripped of major responsibilities in December, when he was appointed to the organising committee.

According to their resignation letter, the team felt were "completely blocked" from making decisions about the show after Grytsak was appointed as deputy general director of Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC. The letter added that his “appointment and actions … stopped work on the project for two months."

Those who resigned included two executive producers, the event manager and head of security

The show’s executive producers, Victoria Romanova and Oleksandr Kharebin, and most of their team stepped down on Monday, saying in a letter published by the Strana news site that they felt sidelined by the new event coordinator and worried by a lack of transparency in decision-making.

“Hereby we, the Eurovision team, for whom this contest has become not only part of our work but also part of our life, officially announced that we are leaving this project and stopping work on the preparation for the contest,” the signatories said.

While it thanked the departing team members for their work so far, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said every effort must now be made to ensure the show goes on as planned in Kiev in May, warning UA:PBC to “stick to the timeline”.

The setback is the latest to afflict this year’s competition after reports Ukraine was having serious difficulty financing it and complaints from the Orthodox church that the choice of venue for the opening ceremony, a cathedral dating back to the 11th century, amounted to blasphemy.

Ukraine won the right to stage the 62nd Eurovision contest after Ukrainian contestant Jamala, an ethnic Tatar from Crimea, won the competition with her controversial ballad 1944, about the wartime deportations of Tatars under Joseph Stalin.