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Ukraine's participation in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 under threat

Sofia Rol, Ukraine’s representative at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, calls on patrons to donate to ensure that Ukraine will be able to make it out to Malta. The necessary minimum for the Ukrainian delegation’s trip is UAH 580,000. As of 7 November, Sofia’s team have received only UAH 50,000 in funding.

This was reported by Roman Keryk, Executive Producer for the Ukrainian delegation, at the Ukrinform press conference “Ukraine’s Participation in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Is in Danger”.

“We are looking for financing to enable a delegation of 11-13 people to travel abroad and represent Ukraine. The delegation includes a singing teacher, a choreographer, a stage manager, some performers to accompany Sofia”, says Roman Keryk.

According to Mr. Keryk, UAH 580,000 is the required minimum amount that Ukraine’s participation in this event will be impossible without. As of today, 7 November, a total of UAH 50,000 have been donated by United World Cultures Foundation (UWCF), and the Ministry of Culture has promised to allocate a certain amount which so far remains unknown.

Mr. Keryk also added that the funding must be collected by 12 November in order to pay for the booked tickets on 13 November and fly to Malta to start a week of rehearsals and preparation for the final performance.

Anastasiya Klysakova, UWCF Executive Director, informed that it was Sofia’s mother, Larysa Rol, who asked the organization for help. United World Cultures Foundation has made its own contribution of UAH 50,000 towards the fund. UWCF plans to help at least with the tickets. Ms Klysakova also called on patrons and businesses to support the young singer.

“This is the dream I have been moving towards for 10 years now”, 14-year old Sofia Rol says addressing all people who care.

The Executive Producer for the Ukrainian delegation emphasized that in other countries the participation of a country’s representative is typically financed from the budget of the television company broadcasting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Later Mr. Keryk corrected himself saying that the usual practice of our neighbouring countries is that representatives receive funding from the state (public sector or national broadcaster).

Noteworthy, in the previous years, Ukrainian kids participating in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest had to do their own search for funding to make it to the contest.

On 4 November, the Suspilne Movlennya website (“Public Broadcasting”) found out that Sofia Rol’s father had contacted the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine requesting financial support. The Government delegated this issue to National Television Company of Ukraine and the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and instructed them to find UAH 200,000 for participation of the Ukrainian contestant, Sofia Rol, in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Malta. National Television Company had to provide UAH 50,000, and the Ministry of Culture, respectively, UAH 150,000. Suspilne Movlennya was informed so by the CEO of National Television Company of Ukraine. Press Office of the Ministry of Culture did not give any answers as for the financial support to Sofia Rol.

As a reminder, on 10 September, the entertainment complex Sky Family Park hosted the national selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, participated by 12 contestants aged between 9 and 14 and won by 14-year old Sofia Rol. Sofia’s song “Planet Craves for Love” performed in English and Ukrainian was selected by professional juries and viewers via SMS voting.

As mentioned above, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to take place on 20 November 2016 in Valetta, Malta. This year’s show will be organized by Malta’s national broadcaster PBS. The contest will be hosted by several of Valetta’s locations during the daytime. Earlier, the international final used to be broadcasted on Saturday evenings, but this year the decision has been made to shift the live show hours to the daytime which is more convenient for family viewing.