Geneva broadcaster boots Romania out of Eurovision
Romania’s ‘Moment of Silence’ has turned into permanent silence as the country’s Eurovision entrant – due to sing the unfortunately-named track – has been kicked out of the forthcoming contest.
Earlier this week the Geneva-based European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it would exclude the country from the 2016 contest if it did not pay 10 million Swiss francs of a 16 million franc debt it owed.
The EBU, which organizes the contest, said it had urged Romania's struggling state broadcaster TVR to pay debts which have accumulated over the past four years or face being prevented from covering the show, with the country's entrant Ovidiu Anton likewise banned.
On Friday it carried through with its threat after TVR missed its repayment deadline, which had already been extended a day.
In a statement EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre said: “It is regrettable that we are forced to take this action. We are disappointed that all our attempts to resolve this matter have received no response from the Romanian government.”
“The EBU is a not-for-profit association which represents 73 Public Service Broadcasters in 56 countries,” it added. “The continued indebtedness of TVR jeopardizes the financial stability of the EBU itself.”
Shortly after the decision, Anton's supporters set up a Change.org petition to ask the EBU to reinstate the Romanian.
The EBU's decision was "direspectful for the artist," reads the petition.
Others were less upset by the decision.
@tSHandJ Romania out of Eurovision due to unpaid bills? Can the UK try that, it saves on the embarrassment— Gabriel Cancello (@GCANCELLO) April 22, 2016
This year's Eurovision Song Contest kicks off on May 10th with the semifinals, before the grand final on May 14th.
Switzerland's entry is the Canadian-born Rykka, singing The Last of Our Kind.