Eurovision 2023: London will bid to host iconic song contest at O2 or Wembley Arena, Sadiq Khan confirms

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have Eurovision in London? We had the premier of Abba Voyage in London.”

London is set to bid to host Eurovision in 2023 in one of the capital’s major arenas, mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed.

The mayor has told Londoners it would be “fantastic” to host the iconic song contest in the city, and called for “cross-party support” on the campaign.

This year’s contest, held in Turin, in northern Italy, in May 2022, was won by the Ukrainian entry the Kalush Orchestra with their song Stefania.

The Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine as they are named the winners of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest. Photo: Getty

Ukraine, who are currently at war with Russia following a full-scale invasion in February, they scored 631 points - with 192 from the jury and 439 from the public.

While the UK, who entered singer Sam Ryder with his song Spaceman, came in second place with 283 points from the jury and a 183 public score, making a total of 466 points.

Russia was banned from entering Eurovision amid sanctions surrounding the war.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which manages the contest, has confirmed it cannot be held in Ukraine due to concerns for the welfare of participants and workers and the “severe risk of air raids or attacks” which could cause “significant casualties”.

And during mayor’s question time at City Hall yesterday (Thursday, June 23), Mr Khan was asked by Green Party assembly member Zack Polanski whether he would consider hosting.

Sadiq Khan has denied promising “zero days” of Tube strikes. Photo: Getty

Mr Polanski said: "Something that’s hugely important to us in the LGBT+ community is Eurovision.

“Is that something you’d consider putting a bid in for if our Ukrainian friends support it, in solidarity?"

The mayor responded: "Ideally we’d want Eurovision of some kind to take place in Ukraine.

“There’s a date by which the organising committee needs to know it’s going to take place.

“My understanding is that with the best will in the world, Ukraine can’t provide that certainty.

“If it doesn’t, you bet I want it to be London.”

He added: “We’ve let those in charge know and we hope to make progress on that.

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have Eurovision in London?

“We had the premier of Abba Voyage in London. It would be great to have cross party support."

From left, two Green Party activists, candidates Alastair Binnie-Lubbock, Bettina Maidment and Charlie Norman, with London Assembly member Zack Polanski. Photo: LondonWorld

Venues in London which could be considered to host the contest, which requires a capacity of more than 10,000 people, might include the O2 Arena in Greenwich, and SSE Wembley Arena - which can fit 20,000 and 12,500 respectively.

Mr Khan did not elaborate on where the show could be held.

In a statement yesterday, an EBU spokesperson said: "The EBU fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) cannot be staged in Ukraine, this year’s winning country.

“At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern.

“The rules, that all participating broadcasters agree upon, clearly state that the event can be moved in a force majeure situation such as an ongoing war.

“The EBU, with regret, [has] made its decision to move the event to another country and will continue discussions on finding a suitable location for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.”

A BBC statement read: "We have seen the announcement from the EBU.

“Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want.

“Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest."