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Official EBU statement & FAQ on Eurovision 2020 cancellation

Eurovision 2020 'Open Up' design
Eurovision 2020 'Open Up' design

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam.

Posted 06 April 2020 at 15:52 CET

Intention to honour Eurovision 2020 songs and artists

We have been overwhelmed with the love that the Eurovision Song Contest family has shared since the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event.

The EBU is very aware of how much the Eurovision Song Contest will be missed this year. The Contest’s values of universality and inclusivity, and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music, are needed now more than ever.

The EBU and its Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVROTROS are producing a new show, 'Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light', to air in place of the Grand Final on Saturday 16 May at 21:00 CEST. To help unite and entertain audiences around Europe during these challenging times.

It is our intention with this programming, and on our online platforms in the coming months, to honour the songs and artists which have been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

With that in mind, the Reference Group, the Song Contest’s governing board, has decided that, in accordance with the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, this year’s songs will not be eligible to compete when the Contest returns in 2021.

At their discretion, Participating Broadcasters may decide which artist(s) to send in 2021, either this year’s representative or a new one.

We ask for your continued patience while we work through practical implications of these ideas in the coming days and weeks.


Posted 20 March 2020 at 20:30 CET


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 (EBU) has taken the difficult decision to not 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 can not take place in May.

The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue in conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021.

We ask some patience as we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await further news in the coming days and weeks.

During that time, we would like to pay tribute to all the Host Broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 Members who have worked so hard planning this year’s event.

We are all heartbroken that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May but feel confident that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you cancelling the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam?

With the escalating spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities - it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.

Why not postpone the event?

The current situation across Europe is likely to remain uncertain for the coming months and at this stage we cannot guarantee we would be able to stage an event of this size with this many stakeholders later this year. A Contest later in the year would also reduce the amount of time the winning broadcaster would have to prepare for the following year’s competition.

Could you not have held the contest without an audience?

We are carefully following the advice of the relevant authorities to protect the health and wellbeing of all citizens. Dutch restrictions on gatherings of large numbers of people and international travel restrictions mean that holding the event, even without an audience, is impossible at this time.

Why couldn’t you have held the show remotely?

It’s in the DNA of the Eurovision Song Contest to bring delegations, artists and fans together in one place and provide an equal platform for all artists to compete together on the same stage and the same opportunity to shine. We felt that under the extreme circumstances we face this year, organizing the Eurovision Song Contest in another way would not be in keeping with our values and the tradition of the event.

The unique format of the Song Contest as an international live event means that it is not possible to identify any realistic alternative. We therefore have no choice other than to cancel the show.

Why will this year’s songs not be eligible to compete in 2021?

The Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, which represents all participating broadcasters, agreed that the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest should be upheld for the event when it returns in 2021. This means that the songs that compete next year cannot be commercially available before 1 September 2020, which excludes the current selection of songs chosen for this year’s cancelled event.

However, participating broadcasters can choose to send the artist selected for this year’s Contest should they wish, or choose a new one. We know the decision is disappointing for many, but the EBU and its Members intend to celebrate this year’s songs in the coming months in the absence of a Contest in 2020.

In making the decision the Reference Group took into account that the EBU, the 41 participating broadcasters and Universal Music would be showcasing this year’s songs and artists in alternative programming, on a tribute CD and on all our digital channels as much as possible in the coming weeks.

They also looked at the fact that bringing the same songs to the ESC 2021 would not be in the spirit of the Contest and the excitement and engagement created every year during “selection season” would be lost. This would impact the build up to the event on social media, online and on air for the participating broadcasters during the national finals and the preview shows.

They agreed, that abandoning the 1 September rule for commercial release, even in these unprecedented circumstances, would lead to an unfair competition in 2021, where some broadcasters could choose to submit this year’s song or choose a newer song.

What will happen to my ticket?

You will be informed about this as soon as possible. Among other things, we will look at whether the buyers will get their money back or whether the tickets will remain valid until next year. As soon as there is more clarity, ticket buyers will receive an email with their various options at the email address from which they purchased their tickets.

Can I get a refund now?

At the moment we are looking into the various options. As soon as we have more information, this will be communicated on

What happens to my tickets that I bought on Ticketswap, via AVROTROS, or via the fan club (OGAE)?

The same applies here as for "regular" ticket buyers. As soon as we have more information, this will be communicated on and you will receive an email at the email address from which you booked the tickets.

Do we have a date for next year’s Contest?

The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam are continuing their conversation regarding the potential hosting of the Contest in 2021. It is currently too early to discuss any specifics regarding the event next year.

What about the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 CD?

The official Eurovision Song Contest 2020 double CD will be released as a tribute album featuring the songs from all 41 countries. The CD will be available from 15 May 2020 and can be pre-ordered in the Eurovision shop.

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