This year’s song entries for the cancelled Eurovision Song Contest will not be eligible in 2021, the event’s producers have confirmed.
However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said countries could still send the same artist they had hoped would represent them in what was to have been the 65th edition this May.
The 2020 contest was due to take place in Rotterdam but was cancelled last week over coronavirus fears.
James Newman was picked as the UK’s entry and was hoping his track My Last Breath could bring long-awaited success.
The EBU also said it was planning to “honour the songs and artists” chosen to perform this year with an online event.
A statement said: “We have been overwhelmed with the love that the Eurovision Song Contest family has shared since the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event.
“The EBU is very aware of how much the Eurovision Song Contest will be missed this year. The contest’s values of universality and inclusivity, and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music, are needed now more than ever.
“As such, the EBU and its members are currently exploring alternative programming, but not a competition, to help unite and entertain audiences around Europe during these challenging times.
“It is our intention with this programming, and on our online platforms in the coming months, to honour the songs and artists which have been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.
“With that in mind, the Reference Group, the Song Contest’s governing board, has decided that, in accordance with the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, this year’s songs will not be eligible to compete when the contest returns in 2021.
“At their discretion, participating broadcasters may decide which artist(s) to send in 2021, either this year’s representative or a new one.
“We ask for your continued patience while we work through practical implications of these ideas in the coming days and weeks.”
Eurovision is among the numerous high-profile entertainment events affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including the Glastonbury and Coachella festivals.