The Daily Telegraph

Eurovision hit by double walkout as Liverpool gets ‘nul points’ over costs

- By Anita Singh ARTS AND ENTERTAINM­ENT EDITOR

‘It is so disappoint­ing to see some businesses jump at the chance to grossly inflate prices’

MONTENEGRO and North Macedonia have withdrawn from next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, with the former citing the price of accommodat­ion in Liverpool as the reason.

Rising registrati­on fees and the energy crisis were also factors, the countries said.

According to the BBC, some countries have been asked to pay more after Russia – which makes a large financial contributi­on to the competitio­n – was expelled over its invasion of Ukraine.

Other countries may now also pull out, the BBC suggested.

The UK stepped in to host the contest on behalf of Ukraine, which won this year’s contest in Italy but could not host the 2023 event for security reasons.

Liverpool was announced this month as the host city.

Montenegro’s public service broadcaste­r, RTCG, said: “In addition to significan­t registrati­on costs, as well as the cost of staying in Great Britain, we also faced a lack of sponsor interest.”

MRT, North Macedonia’s broadcaste­r, said of its withdrawal: “Such a decision is in the best interests of the citizens, taking into account the increased costs due to the energy crisis, which occupy a large part of the budget of the Public Service, as well as the increased registrati­on fee.

“This decision will enable the saving of funds that should be set aside for the Macedonian delegation’s stay in Liverpool.”

MRT said it would broadcast the semi-finals and the final, and hoped to return in 2024.

Neither Montenegro nor North Macedonia made it past the semi-final stages of the 2022 contest, which could account for the lack of sponsorshi­p.

A full list of countries competing next year is expected to be confirmed by organisers later this week.

Accommodat­ion costs in Liverpool over the May 13 weekend next year, when Eurovision takes place, have soared to £4,000 a night.

A number of people reported that their bookings for May 2023 had been cancelled and the accommodat­ion readvertis­ed at much higher prices.

Steve Rotheram, metro mayor for the Liverpool City region, said: “Eurovision is supposed to be an occasion where everybody comes together in the name of peace, love and understand­ing.

“That is why it is so disappoint­ing to see some businesses in our region have jumped at the chance to grossly inflate prices.”

The M&S Bank Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront will host next year’s event.

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