🇮🇱 Regional correspondent claims Israelis believe Cyprus couldn’t afford hosting Eurovision
Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece)
ISRAEL – This summer reminded us the one of 2016 when we didn’t know what will happen with the Ukrainian hosting of the next Eurovision Song Contest. The dispute between KAN and the Israeli government escalated many times since Netta won the contest.
Many press, media and blogs speculated that there will be a Plan B implementation involving mostly Austria and Cyprus as well. Cyprus was the desire of the Eurofans since for most of them Foureira should have been the deserved winner this year.
Cyprus became a favourite during the rehearsals weeks and close to the final the press and media started wondering if the country can actually host the event. Asked dozens of times, Cyprus broadcaster and government sources assured the journalists that if the country wins, they will find the resources (obviously they meant the money) to host the event.
Israel based journalist Julien Bahloul though claims that regional sources told him that the Israelis believe that Cyprus cannot find the money to host the event in case they are asked to.
‘The European Committee [the EBU] claims to be in constant contact with KAN, but warns that there is a plan B if Israel cannot pay the organization of the competition’. This ‘Plan B’ had previously been rumoured to be either Cyprus, Austria or Germany. ‘Plan B would be Austria, arriving in 3rd place. Cyprus (2nd place) would not have the means to finance the competition’, he continued.
Source israélienne : le plan b serait l’Autriche arrivée en 3e place. Chypre (2nd place) n’aurait pas les moyens de financer le concours.
— Julien Bahloul (@julienbahloul) August 13, 2018
Although throughout the history of Eurovision, five contests were not hosted by their winner countries, win modern times EBU makes everything possible to assure the winner country will host the event. This is why they did their best to make sure Israel will host the 1999 edition, Ukraine the 2005 and 2017 edition despite huge political, security problems.
This is why EBU few days before the Grand Final (for years now) calls for private meetings with favourite to win countries to ask them if they are willing to host the event in case they win. This also happened this year with Norway, Cyprus and Israel as we reported, although EBU never mentions something about it in public.
It is vital for the image and the branding of the contest to maintain a historic element of Eurovision: the hosting of the event by the winner country. Though EBU always makes a Plan B which anyway includes the case of Australia winning the contest. If that happens SBS will be collaborating with a European national broadcaster to host the event in European soil upon agreement with the EBU’s Reference Group.
So far everything points out that Tel Aviv will host the event, following the solution upon the bank guarantee issue. Official confirmations and announcement are expected by early September (hopefully).