Anton Attard has been accused of attempting to artificially inflate the odds of Malta winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019.
Following reports that last week that Malta betted for itself at Eurovision 2021, as part of a campaign for positive coverage, it has been reported that the same method was attempted to be used in 2019. According to the Times of Malta, Anton Attard who was a member of the Maltese delegation and producer, turned to gambling magnate Yorgen Fenech to support the Maltese entry in 2019.
The report states that Mr. Attard contacted the gambling magnate in the run-up to Eurovision 2019 as well as on the ground in Tel Aviv. The amount required to boost Malta’s position in the odds was never stated according to a source speaking to the Times of Malta.
When asked for comment by the Times of Malta, Anton Attard commented:
This means that during my tenure at PBS no public money was ever channeled in any way whatsoever for betting to enhance the winning chances of the Maltese song.
The spending of public money on betting is not only illegal but despicable.
The Maltese Government is currently investigating the spending of over €650,000 on Malta’s participation in Eurovision 2021. Carmelo Abela, a Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, 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.
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: Eurovision.tv – 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.