Russia kicked out of Eurovision over Ukraine invasion after Formula 1 and Champions League decisions

Russia will no longer participate in this year's Eurovision Song Contest following the invasion of Ukraine, it has been announced.

It follows Formula 1 cancelling a planned race in Russia and football's Champions. League final being moved St Petersburg, to Paris

A statement from the European Broadcasting Union, which produces Eurovision, said: “The Executive Board of the EBU made the decision following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU.

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“The Reference Group recommendation was also supported by the EBU’s Television Committee. The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute.

There has been international outrage over the invasion of Ukraine.

Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.

“The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service.

“We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.”

The decision follows calls from Iceland, Estonia and the Netherlands for Russia to be excluded from the contest.

The competition had originally indicated it planned to allow Russia to compete in Turin in May, describing itself as a “non-political cultural event”.

The 66th edition of Eurovision is due to take place in Turin after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.

Last week, the act chosen to represent Ukraine in Turin withdrew from representing her country after facing scrutiny over a reported 2015 visit to Russia-occupied Crimea.

Alina Pash had been chosen in a televised national selection show and was due to perform her song Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors, but pulled out after details of the trip emerged.

People who enter the territory via Russia are considered by Ukraine to have illegally crossed the border. There is no suggestion that Pash entered Crimea from Russia.

She was replaced by rap act Kalush Orchestra with the song Stefania.

Russia has not yet announced its act.

It follows international sport beginning to turn its back on Russia.

The Champions League football final in May was moved from Russia’s second-largest city, St Petersburg, to Paris while motor sport’s world governing body the FIA announced September’s Formula One Russian Grand Prix had been cancelled.

The decisions were welcomed by the British Government, with Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries saying: “Our message is clear: Russia must not be able to legitimise their heinous and barbaric attack on Ukraine by hosting international sporting and cultural events.”

The International Olympic Committee also called on Friday afternoon for global sports federations to cancel or relocate any future events they are planning to stage in Russia or Belarus.

Manchester United ended their commercial relationship with Russia’s national airline Aeroflot while UEFA is understood to be discussing with its lawyers how it can sever its ties with Russian energy company Gazprom, a major Champions League sponsor.