The official wording regarding the participation of Associate Member broadcasters of the EBU has changed, possible paving the way for new countries to participate.
Between June and August this year the official wording on the Eurovision.tv regarding associate member broadcasters has been changed. The newly added wording regarding countries participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is as follows:
Associates of the EBU may also be eligible to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, this is decided by the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, on a case by case basis.
Previously Eurovision.tv had made no mention of associate member broadcasters participation, despite the fact that Australia participated in the contest once again in 2016.
In the past month there has been much speculation regarding whether the European Broadcasting Union and the song contests Reference Group will be changing the rules for next years Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. At the end of September in a statement to ESCToday.com the European Broadcasting Union has stated that they are reviewing the rules regarding associate members participating in the Eurovision Song Contest.
For the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest EBU Associates, such as Khabar Agency in Kazakhstan, were not eligible to take part in the Contest save for an exception made for SBS Australia. The EBU is reviewing these rules ahead of next year’s competition, and will publish the latest edition on the Eurovision.tv site in due course.
The statement has lead to increased speculation that Kazakhstan could be the latest country to debut in the Eurovision Song Contest. Kazakhstan has shown broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest annually through its associate member broadcaster, Khabar Agency. The Kazakh broadcaster has shown the contest annually since 2010 and has created specific website content to promote the contest. However Kosovo which has pushed to participate since 2009, would still be ineligible to compete.
The full list of countries who would be eligible to compete if the contest allowed associate members to compete is as follows:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United States