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Birmingham named as one of seven UK cities in shortlist to host Eurovision song contest

Birmingham has made the shortlist of UK cities that could host next year's Eurovision Song Contest, it has been revealed.

Performers at the Eurovision song contest held this year
Performers at the Eurovision song contest held this year

Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield will vie to stage the event in May.

Twenty cities expressed an interest, the BBC said, and those not making the shortlist include London and Belfast.

The UK was chosen to host the contest after organisers decided it could not be staged by Ukraine, the 2022 winners.

UK singer Sam Ryder finished second at this year's contest in Turin, Italy.

The decision to relocate it from Ukraine because of the ongoing war has led to a hotly-contested selection process between UK cities that want to attract thousands of visitors and the attention of around 160 million TV viewers around the world.

The BBC said the seven-strong shortlist was based on the cities' ability to show they have "the capacity, capability and experience to host an event of this scale and complexity".

A statement added that the process was "heavily weighted towards demonstrating past experience in hosting major international events, as well as being able to demonstrate their credentials in hosting a celebration of contemporary music".

Talks will now take place with the Government, BBC and other partners over logistics to host it in Birmingham.

This year's head of show in Turin, Claudio Santucci, confirmed that organisers would need access to the venue for several weeks to set up and also hold rehearsals.

In June, the boss of Resorts World Arena, Paul Thandi, said he would be honoured to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest and has cleared the schedule to make sure it is ready.

Now, Birmingham City Council bosses say talks would take place if the city is successful in being shortlisted.

A council spokeswoman said: "Birmingham City Council has expressed an interest to the Government to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year on behalf of Ukraine.

"Should Birmingham be successful in being shortlisted, discussions would take place with the Government, the BBC and other partners on the costs and responsibilities of hosting the event."

Resorts World Arena has a strong track record in hosting major televised events and awards ceremonies in recent years, having previously staged BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010, 2016 and 2018, as well as the BBC Music Awards in 2015.

The venue was also chosen to host Concert for Ukraine on March 29, which was broadcast live on ITV, bringing together some of the world’s biggest artists to help raise a staggering £13.4 million for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian appeal.

Neil Rami, chief executive of West Midlands Growth Company, said: “The announcement by the BBC and EBU to shortlist Birmingham to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year is another tremendous endorsement for the city and wider region’s reputation as a truly international major events destination.

“There was no better shop window than the 2022 Commonwealth Games to successfully demonstrate to the world our region’s friendliness, expertise and flexibility in welcoming large and complex events.

"The vibrancy, diversity and youthfulness displayed during that fantastic fortnight of sport and culture helped to put on an incredible show, and I’ve no doubt that we would deliver another memorable Eurovision, like in 1998, on behalf of Ukraine.”

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