Jon Ola Sand on preparations Kiev 2017: “Never seen anything like this”

Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, has told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that he “never seen anything like this” when it comes to the hiccups in hosting the contest in Kiev, May this year. Still, he is confident about the current schedule and the dates will remain the same.

The Norwegian Sand spoke about the struggles of recent months in preparing for the contest in Kiev. “It has been a very difficult year with many challenges that we have had to look closely at and work closely with,” he says. “Ticket sales are delayed, and neither lighting, set design or sound system is in place. I have never seen anything like this.”

That says something, as Jon Ola Sand is the Executive Supervisor of the contest since 2011 and since 2016 he is also ‘the boss’ of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

BBC, VRT cover the struggles of Kiev and potential new dates for the contest

21 key employees in production recently resigned in protest, including security officer and event manager. Sand says that the situation right now is hard – and that for several reasons. Not only because the TV and organizational culture in Ukraine is different than what they are used to. “This makes it all the more complicated. With some personal conflicts on top of it all, so I must say that I have not seen anything like it before.”

Mainstream media picked up the news, including the BBC and Belgian broadcaster VRT. They even wrote about the scenario when another country must take over organizing the contest. Or – more plausible according to VRT – when the contest will get a new set of dates.

Still, Jon Ola Sand is still confident that the final will be held in Kiev on the 13th of May. “There is very short time. We have really passed all deadlines that must be in place. We follow this hour by hour, and I’m down there very much to make sure that we are going on the air with three shows in May.”