It was only a matter of time – the organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest have now announced that this year’s event, originally due to take place in Rotterdam on Saturday 16th May, has been cancelled due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
A statement from the EBU read: “It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam. Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.
“However, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.”
“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 cannot take place in May.”
The statement continued: “The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue a conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021. We would ask people to bear with us while we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await any further news in the coming days and weeks.
“We would like to pay tribute to all the host broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 Members who have worked so hard on planning this year’s event.
“We are all heartbroken as they are that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May and know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.”
James Newman was recently announced as the UK entry, with his song My Last Breath, although rumours have been circulating for a while that the contest could be cancelled, or at least performed without a live arena audience. This is the first time in the event’s 64 year history that it has not been able to go ahead.
It follows the news that the BAFTA Television Awards, due to take place on the same weekend, have been postponed, while many TV crews have paused production on series.