Eurovision's 2017 Plans Hit Second Speed Bump in Kiev

St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.
Efrem Lukatsky/AP/REX/Shutterstock 

St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.

Construction taking place next door to Eurovision's 2017 venue in Kiev, Ukraine, is threatening to disrupt the international contest, or force a change in location.

There has been a dispute between a Catholic church, located near the International Exhibition Center, where Eurovision is scheduled to take place, and the developer of a nearby residential project, Ukrainian outlet Vesti Ukraina has? reported. The Vatican has reportedly been informed about the construction -- which the Kiev church considers illegal due to its proximity and height -- and may step in to prevent it from going ahead.

If the church and the developer fail to reach a compromise and choose to take the matter to court, litigation could lead to a delay in construction, which was originally expected to be completed by the time Eurovision begins, next spring.

"Lawsuits over legitimacy of construction include several stages and could last as long as five years," Dmitry Belotserkovets, an aide to Kiev's mayor, was quoted as saying by Vesti Ukraina.

According to Belotserkovets, if the two sides don't come to terms by December, all works will have to be halted. A construction site next to the Eurovision opening ceremony venue will make it unusable for the contest.

A spokesman for Eurovision tells Billboard that the matter is being looked into.

The choice of the St. Sophia complex as the venue has already stirred controversy as Ukraine's Orthodox church said that holding anything associated with the contest near an ancient burial ground would be "blasphemy." The confirmed venue for the actual Eurovision contest is the International Exhibition Center, located in Kiev’s Livoberezhna district.

Update 10/24: This article was updated to clarify that the St. Sophia site is the proposed venue for Eurovision’s opening ceremony, not the actual contest.