The Organiser of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand and the EBU have responded to the multiple allegations of vote rigging and incorrect voting scores that have appeared since the final on Saturday night.
In response to the video that we reported on here, that supposedly shows 2 men talking about how the voting has been rigged by Azerbaijan and Russia through paying people to vote, Jon Ola Sand said:
“We are looking into this case, but would emphasise that the intention of these individuals have not yet been clarified, and nor has a link been established between the individuals in the video and the Azeri delegation, the Azeri act or the Azeri EBU Member Ictimai TV.”
Also in response to the recount of voting in Azerbaijan that was ordered when Russia scored 0 points from Azerbaijan, Jon Ola said:
“The first duty of the EBU, as organiser of the Eurovision Song Contest, is to its Members, the public service broadcasters in the participating countries (Ictimai TV in Azerbaijan). We believe that the Song Contest’s apolitical spirit is a cornerstone of its enduring success, and we will do all we can to protect it.”
The EBU said that:
Any form of political pressure on professional juries that could lead to anything other than an independent evaluation of the participating entries is a violation of the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, and will be duly dealt with.
Jon Ola went on to talk about these types of allegations that have appeared in the contest in past year and said that:
“I have been around at the Eurovision Song Contest since 1998, and every year there are rumors about irregularities in the voting. Particularly this year, we felt it was time to firmly deal with these rumors,” Sand commented on various media enquiries.
In response PwC has sent additional observers to broadcasters unannounced shortly before the broadcast, to verify as well if the jury voting is being conducted in accordance with the Rules. A PwC observer has also conducted interviews with broadcaster representatives at the Eurovision Song Contest, to evaluate rumors. PwC are the company that have been put in charge of ensuring that the voting is fair and unbiased.
Dr. Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event’s governing body on behalf of EBU Members, states: “Let me be clear on this. If we find any clear evidence that the Rules are being breached, including attempts of power-voting, we act immediately to do what we are obliged to do on behalf of the Members: to protect the Eurovision Song Contest brand.”
PwC have responded back to the EBU and have confirmed that the scores on the night and the voting that took place was valid on the basis of the criteria outlined by the EBU.