Eurovision Song Contest 2020 cancelled for first time in 64 years

18 March 2020, 14:46 | Updated: 18 March 2020, 14:48

Eurovision Song Contest 2020 cancelled for first time in 64 years
Eurovision Song Contest 2020 cancelled for first time in 64 years. Picture: Eurovision

By Rory O'Connor

The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 has been cancelled for the first time in 64 years due to coronavirus concerns.

The popular song contest attracts a TV audience of nearly 200 million people around the world each year.

This year's show was due to take place in Rotterdam after the Netherlands won the contest in 2019, however, it has now been cancelled.

An official statement read: "It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam.

Read more: Coronavirus: What music gigs and festivals have been cancelled?

"Over the past few weeks, we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.

"However, the uncertainty created by the spread of Covid-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned."

The statement continued: "We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May.

"The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue a conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021.

"We would ask people to bear with us while we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await any further news in the coming days and weeks.

Eurovision's statement
Eurovision's statement. Picture: Eurovision

"We would like to pay tribute to all the host broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 members who have worked so hard on planning this year’s event.

"We are all as heartbroken as they are that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May and know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time."

John Newman's brother James Newman was announced last month as the UK’s entry for this year with his song ‘My Last Breath’.