Today the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that Belarus had been disqualified from the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.
Overnight the EBU released the following statement on Belarus, stating that their second entry was also in breach of the rules.
"On Wednesday 10 March we wrote to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to request that they take all steps necessary to amend their entry to this year’s event to ensure it is compliant with the rules of the competition. Following this BTRC submitted a new song, by the same artists, within an agreed timeframe.
The EBU and the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, carefully scrutinized the new entry to assess its eligibility to compete.
It was concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition that ensure the Contest is not instrumentalized or brought into disrepute.
As BTRC have failed to submit an eligible entry within the extended deadline, regrettably, Belarus will not be participating in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in May."
This follows the controversy earlier this month when Belarus's internally chosen artist Galasy ZMesta also ran into issues with their song 'Ya nauchu tebya (I'll Teach You)'.
There was an immediate backlash as the group had been pro Belarusian President Lukashenko and more importantly the song had lyrics that were ridiculing the pro-democracy protestors in the country.
Fans saw this as breaking rule 2.7 of Eurovision which states: "No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest."
On 11 March the EBU responded stating that after a review they found "the song puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question." as well as adding "We’ve written to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to inform them that the song, in its present form, is currently not eligible to compete. Furthermore we’ve requested that they take all necessary steps to submit a modified version, or a new song, that is compliant with the ESC rules. Failure to do so could result in disqualification from this year’s Contest."
The EBU have been working with BTRC to submit another song but with a second breach of the rules, it has now been disqualified from taking part in the year's contest.
It isn't the first disqualification from Eurovision. In 2009 the Georgian entry 'We Don't Want to Put In' was disqualified as it was seen as a political statement about Russian President Vladmir Putin. Georgia refused to change the lyrics and song and withdrew.
There will be 39 competing nations and songs in Rotterdam. Belarus was in semi-final one which reduces that number down to 16 entries.