Leeds and Sheffield leaders have welcomed the news that the cities have made the shortlist to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.
The UK was chosen to host the contest as runners up after it was confirmed that 2022 winners Ukraine would be unable to host the competition due to the ongoing Russian invasion.
The BBC has confirmed the outcome of the first stage of the Host City bidding process, after receiving expressions of interest from 20 cities, across all four Nations of the UK.
The applicants demonstrated how they would reflect Ukrainian culture, music and communities to mark the fact that Ukraine was the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Leeds and Sheffield, together with Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, were shortlisted based on their ability to meet a set of minimum requirements that demonstrate they have the capacity, capability and experience to host an event of this scale and complexity.
Given the short period of time available until the event will be staged, the selection process was heavily weighted towards demonstrating past experience in hosting major international events, as well as being able to demonstrate their credentials in hosting a celebration of contemporary music.]
The seven cities will now go through to the second and final stage, where they will be asked to develop their bids in more detail. The selection of the Host City for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be decided by the BBC in conjunction with the EBU, and the successful city will be announced in the autumn.
Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, described Leeds as «an amazing city, bursting at the seams with vibrant creativity and would shine given the chance to host this event».
«The whole West Yorkshire region is a beacon of culture — from Bradford’s city of culture in 2025, to Kirklees year of music in 2023,» she said.
«Our vibrant Ukrainian community have built their lives here and since the tragic events unfolded recently, have helped us to open our arms to offer solidarity, support and shelter to the families fleeing the war. And I hope that Leeds, and the whole of West Yorkshire, will be given the honour of hosting Eurovision in their name.»
Cllr Martin Smith, economic development and skills policy committee chair at Sheffield City Council, said: «It’s fantastic news that we have been shortlisted to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
«We’re working with our partners across the region on the next stage of the bidding process. It’s an exciting step closer in our collaboration on this, and we plan to work with our Ukrainian communities and partners, bringing cultures together in solidarity. We know that Sheffield can put on a fantastic show and deliver international events at the highest level. With support from Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham we can bring communities and cultures together on a larger scale and really show Europe what we have here in South Yorkshire.»