The European Broadcasting Union has responded to the news that the winning Eurovision entry from Ukraine “1944” was performed in May of last year.
The EBU has issued a statement which is as follows:
The Eurovision Song Contest rule (1.2.1a) which states that entries must not have been commercially released before September 1 exists to make sure that the Contest can welcome new compositions each year, and that every song can compete on a level playing field. The purpose of the rule is to prevent wide distribution of any song that might give it an unfair advantage in the competition the following May.
In the past, songs that had been publicly available before the deadline, but had not been accessible by a wide audience, had been granted permission to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest by the Reference Group.
In the case of Jamala’s “1944” the EBU’s attention has been drawn, after the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, to a public performance of an earlier version of the song in May 2015.The video of a small concert had only been viewed by a few hundred people before it was discovered in the past few days.
The EBU, based on previous decisions in the Reference Group, therefore has concluded that the published video did not give Jamala’s song any unfair advantage in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and the song was eligible to compete.