Romania suffers Eurovision premature ejection

Unceremoniously booted from contest

La Roumanie, nul points. Ovidiu Anton (right) pictured by TVR

Romania has been prematurely ejected from this year's Eurovision Song Contest after state broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) failed to cough fees owed to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The shock expulsion came after the EBU gave the Romanian government - which it views as "legally obliged to underwrite TVR's debt" - until 20 April to pay 10 million of the 16 million Swiss francs (roughly £11.3m) in unpaid fees dating back as far as 2007.

Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of the non-profit EBU described the action as "regrettable", but insisted that "the continued indebtedness of TVR jeopardizes the financial stability of the EBU itself".

The official EBU press release states: "TVR will now no longer be able to participate in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and will lose access to other EBU member services including the Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, the right to broadcast specific sporting events, legal, technical and research expertise and lobbying services."

The effect of the decision has been most keenly felt by Ovidiu Anton, who was poised to perform Moment of Silence in Stockholm on 12 May. The song is already on the Eurovision CD, and the EBU has said it has "decided to keep the digital download of the song available for download and streaming, as a courtesy to the artist".

According to the BBC, the 24-year-old crooner said on his website: "Dear friends, I have finally received the official communication. I am trying to smile and not get carried away, but it is unfair."

On a more positive note, the entire population of Romania will be spared hours of musical suffering on 12 May, since TVR "will not have access to the broadcast signal from Stockholm, and thus will also not be able to broadcast the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest". ®

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