Eurovision Song Contest ‘Fix’ Investigation After Claims Votes Were


[ Part 2.2: “Attached Text” ]

13 Sep 2013 00:00

An executive who worked on this year’s final has alleged that they
were contacted by several delegations keen to do dodgy deals

  Eclipsed: Bonnie Tyler song was 19th Eclipsed: Bonnie Tyler song
was 19th WireImage

Its scoring system has long been derided as a joke by UK viewers, but
now Eurovision bosses are probing claims some countries bought votes.

An anonymous executive who worked on this year’s final in Malmo,
Sweden, has this week alleged they were contacted by several
delegations keen to do dodgy deals.

Azerbaijan – awarded the maximum 12 points by Malta in 2010, 2011,
2012 and 2013 – stands accused of offering to bribe jury members with
“enough money to live off for a year” in order to get extra points.

The Azerbaijani delegation is also accused of handing out mobile
phone SIM cards to Lithuanian students and paying them to vote.

On the day of the final, Lithuanian website 15min published a
secretly-recorded film which showed youngsters being offered cash by
Russian-speaking men to back Azerbaijan – winner of the 2011 contest.

Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, who came 19th out of 26 finalists in May,
told a French newspaper she overheard Russians asking why they didn’t
get the votes they paid for.

Bonnie said: “The next day the Russians were complaining to Azerbaijan
– ‘why didn’t you give us the 10 points we paid for?’

“Excuse me? We paid for? Is this a competition?

“We haven’t won for 16 years so I didn’t expect to win. But it’s too
bad that politics come into it.

“It should be a songwriting competition not who lives next door to
you. Did you see the way they vote? ­Unbelievable.”

Emmelie de Forest of Denmark wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2013
Rate Dane: Emmelie de Forest celebrates her victory in Malmo Getty  

This week’s revelations in Swedish newspaper Skanska Dagbladet
quoted an executive from an unnamed country’s delegation who had been
contacted by several countries keen to do deals in which they would
trade high points regardless of the quality of the songs.

The insider says they were approached by a member of the Macedonian
delegation about a vote-swapping scheme in the week before the

Another incident took place over a coffee with a member of the
Azerbaijani contingent, who first admitted that the country they
worked for was buying votes from other countries and then offered
the source “enough money to live for a year” if they could arrange
high jury points.

The source added: “I know of at least three other countries that
are doing this kind of agreement backstage, even if they have not
contacted me personally.”

Yesterday Eurovision Song Contest Event Supervisor Sietse Bakker
confirmed that the corruption claims were being investigated by the
European Broadcasting Union.

He said: “Our investigation into the allegations towards Azerbaijan
is still ongoing.”

The Dutchman said that if wrongdoing was discovered, action would
be taken.

“We have a very clear policy on such ­speculations. First of all,
we always look into the story. If necessary, we investigate further.

“And if we would find actual proof that the rules have been breached,
we will impose firm sanctions and do everything we can to avoid it
in the future.”

But Eurovision experts are sceptical about anything being done about

One said: “There is no doubt that this vote-rigging is going on and
the EBU – whose members are the public broadcasters in the countries
taking part – claims it is conducting a fair investigation.

“Now everyone’s waiting to see what they end up unearthing.

“There are worries that they don’t want to rock the boat and are
as toothless as Fifa when it comes to deciding where the World Cup
should be held.”

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If this is true it’s a travesty: By Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz

You’ll always get people voting for their neighbour, but taking money,
I think that’s shocking, a travesty.

It’s turning a really joyous occasion into something really sordid
and nasty.

Some nations take it more seriously than we do but we shouldn’t come
in the bottom three as we have done so frequently (although whoever
came up with the idea of Engelbert Humperdinck needs shooting).

The ones who have won in the last few years have been good, but if
it’s down to vote-rigging then something needs to be done.

If there is video evidence of people trying to vote-rig, then that
country needs to be banned.

If they sit back and let it happen, it isn’t a competition at all.

The actual show is fantastic, it’s the voting that makes us groan
and lets it down.


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