Another scandal has hit the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest the day before the big final. This time it is Spain pushing the rules quite far with not broadcasting the semi-final with the cancellation of televoting as a result – and now they have gone a step further by publishing the result of their jury points.
The big4 country Spain, that is automatically qualified for the final, is being quite a challenge for EBU, the European Broadcasting Union, this year. The big4 countries plus the host country is allocated a semi-final which they are obligated to broadcast live and vote in. The draw this year placed Spain to broadcast the first semi-final. Due to a financial discussion on TV Spain managed to get EBU to change this so that they instead would broadcast – and vote in – the second semi-final. Last night when this went ahead the Spanish broadcaster surprised many by not broadcasting this semi-final. This time a tennis match came in the way!
Instead of having the Spanish population vote among the 19 songs in the second semi-final the Spanish jury went in and voted instead. The rules clearly states only “in case of technical or similar failure in the televoting procedure” the jury voting will be used for all points from that country unless they applied for dispensation well in advance: “If a dispensation is requested by 1 January 2009, the Reference Group may make an exception to the compulsory televoting rule and may allow 100 % of the voting by the national jury in accordance with the rules mentioned in Appendix 4”. As such a dispensation has not been asked for the question is now whether or not a tennis match can be considered such a failure in the televoting system!
Spain has apparently also chosen to publish the result of their jury voting for the second semi-final, which is yet another break of EBU’s rules. In a newsletter sent out this evening EBU states the following about the situation with Spain not broadcasting the second semi-final: “The European Broadcasting Union asked TVE for an official explanation. The Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest will decide upon a sanction in its next meeting, after this year’s competition. This breach will not affect this year’s participation of Spain.”
The other major scandal regarding Head of Russian jury, Filipp Kirkorov, having too close connections to some of the participants has come to an end as he himself decided to withdraw from this position.