Wolverhampton should host Eurovision, says ex-mayor - with reunited One Direction
A former Mayor of Wolverhampton believes Wolverhampton should host Eurovision in 2023, after organisers concluded Ukraine was unable to host the annual event.
It comes after the European Broadcasting Union, which produces Eurovision, said it is in talks with the BBC about the United Kingdom hosting in place of Ukraine, after it decided the war-torn country was unable to do so.
The UK has been offered the opportunity to host the competition after shattering years of Eurovision heartbreak by finishing second in this year's contest with Sam Ryder's song Space Man.
Following yesterday's announcement, Wolverhampton Councillor Claire Darke has now called for Wolverhampton to host the iconic song contest.
She has also pledged to invite Liam Payne to perform at Eurovision if it is hosted in the city, for a one-off reunion show with One Direction.
Councillor Darke, who was the mayor from 2019 to 2021, said: "The City of Wolverhampton has a proud musical heritage, with acts such as Led Zeppelin, Slade, Beverley Knight and Liam Payne, among some of the world’s most prominent artists.
"I call on the Government and the BBC to provide financial support to enable Wolverhampton and the wider area to reap the benefits of this globally significant event.
"Wolverhampton has many potential public spaces for fan zones and to host the contest, including Molineux Stadium, Dunstall Park, and the newly-refurbished Civic Halls.
"The Molineux Stadium, home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, has recently hosted significant international football fixtures and concerts by Rod Stewart.
"I will be calling Wolverhampton’s finest musical talent to join together to support this cause with a one-off concert with all proceeds to support refugees in Ukraine.
"I will personally invite Liam Payne to join and encourage him to reunite with One Direction for a one-off show.
"Wolverhampton is a diverse, multicultural, and inclusive city open to all. Eurovision has helped unite diverse communities across the world. Wolverhampton is ready to play its part."
Eurovision organisers say that the host venue should accommodate around 10,000 spectators, be within easy reach of an international airport, and have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that he hopes Ukraine will still be able to host the contest.
Speaking to reporters after returning from an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Mr Johnson said: "The Ukrainians won the Eurovision Song Contest. I know we had a fantastic entry, I know we came second and I’d love it to be in this country.
"But the fact is that they won and they deserve to have it. I believe that they can have it and I believe that they should have it. I believe that Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it."
Glasgow, London and Manchester among other cities pitching to host Eurovision.