The money spent by Malta on this year’s Eurovision Song contest is being investigated following concerns that taxpayer money was spent on trying to manipulate betting odds.
Carmelo Abela, a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, has ordered that an audit of expenses spent on this year’s Eurovision Song contest be undertaken following allegations that part of the budget was used to manipulate betting odds. The allegations accuse PBS of spending money to place bets on their selected entry, Destiny, in order to inflate her odds of victory. Money was also spent on social media advertising, including YouTube ads for both the music video and to encourage fans to vote for the singer.
The Malta Tourism Authority spent approximately 350,000 euros on promoting Destiny’s entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The audit will examine how this money was spent.
The allegations of financial mismanagement were raised by the board of the public broadcaster PBS which is responsible for Malta’s Eurovision entry. This is not the first time concerns been raised over PBS is spending at Eurovision. In 2016 a freedom of information request was filed against the broadcaster after reports of limitless budget allocations had been circulated to the local press. That year it was reported that over €200,000 was spent on Ira Losco Eurovision participation. The true figure still remains unknown as a freedom of information request was rejected.
Following a 7th place finish in the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, Ludwig Galea had accused the Maltese broadcaster of paying for publicity and hype ahead of the contest. Ludwig, who represented Malta in 2004 alongside Julie Zahra, says that there are individuals who have spent money on artificially inflating the betting market to put Malta as a favourite, paid for positive coverage in reviews, and inflated YouTube views. Ludwig and others have said that Destiny is not involved in this and they praise her for her efforts and performance in the Grand Final. Destiny finished 7th in the final with her entry ” Je me casse”.
Image Source: EBU / Thomas Hanses | Source: Times of Malta
Malta debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1971 and was represented by Joe Grech and the song “Marija L-Maltija”, which finished last. Malta competed again in 1972 and 1975 but then withdrew until their return in 1991. During the 1990s Malta only once finished outside of the top 10, and in 1998 they came within just 7 points of victory. It was Chiara who brought the country their 3rd place finish in 1998, and who went on to finish in 2nd at the 2005 contest in Kyiv. The only other artist to finish 2nd for Malta is Ira Losco, who was 12 points away from victory in 2002. They are the longest participating country never to have won the Eurovision Song Contest.