The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it is in discussions with the BBC about hosting Eurovision in the UK for the first time since 1998, in place of this year’s winners Ukraine.

As winners of this year’s Eurovision, Ukraine was supposed to host the annual songwriting competition in 2023 as per tradition, but the EBU said it would be unsafe for it to be held there following Russia’s invasion. Ukraine officials and UK prime minister Boris Johnson have both said Kyiv should remain as the host city.

Glasgow, Cardiff, London, Leeds and Manchester are among the cities to have been tipped to host the event, following the UK’s runner-up position this year.

The UK has previously held the competition eight times, with it last taking place in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (now Utilita Arena Birmingham). The EBU said it will make it a priority for next year’s host venue to reflect Ukraine’s 2022 win.

The EBU said in a statement, “Following their win at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May the EBU has been exploring options for the hosting of next year’s competition with Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC, who previously staged the event in 2017 and 2005.

“Given the ongoing war since the Russian invasion of this year’s winning country, the EBU has taken the time to conduct a full assessment and feasibility study with both UA:PBC and third-party specialists including on safety and security issues.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most complex TV productions in the world with thousands working on, and attending, the event and 12 months of preparation time needed.

“Following objective analysis, the Reference Group, the ESC’s governing board, has with deep regret concluded that, given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC.

“As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.”

Parklife festival co-founder and Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord said, “Bringing Eurovision to Greater Manchester would be huge for our city region. We’re globally known for our music and I’m confident the right people would give it the full support, to make this happen.”