In a Eurovision first, Romania have been forced to withdraw from the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest following continuous financial difficulty and failure to pay their EBU membership dating back as far as 2007.
The nation have been forced to withdraw just weeks before the Eurovision Final is due to take place and just days before the competitors were due to begin their rehearsals in Stockholm.
The real casualty is the 2016 Romanian representative Ovidiu Anton, who was chosen earlier this year to represent Romania with his song ‘A Moment of Silence’. Through no fault of his own his Eurovision dream has ended despite being chosen by the Romanian public to represent his country.
The singer has hinted that he may take legal action, but is unsure who he should take suit against-
‘I was defeated by… I don’t even know whom. I can say that I can’t explain how you can make such a decision at this level, how do you eliminate a contestant after letting him compete. I don’t know who is to blame, but someone certainly is that someone is not me.’
Romanian broadcaster TVR have been expelled from the European Broadcasting Union, the body who are responsible for organising, broadcasting and distributing the Eurovision Song Contest. The Romanian broadcaster had amassed large debts and faced insolvency, resulting in them having not paid their EBU membership fees since 2007.
As well as not being able to compete in this year’s contest, Romania have also lost any rights to broadcast the contest.
Romania have qualified for the Eurovision Finals on every occasion that they have competed since 1994, including two third places in 2005 and 2010. Although an online petition has been started to campaign against Ovidiu Anton having to withdraw, it is unlikely that the decision will be overturned before the Eurovision takes place on 14th May.
The future of Romania’s participation in Eurovision is unsure, but it doesn’t look like they will be back any time soon.
Were the EBU right to expel Romania, or should they have waited until next year? Share your thoughts below.