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Eurovision Go-ahead For Estonia

ESTONIA: Television managers in Estonia have put aside all financial worries and have confirmed that the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the capital Tallin.

Estonia won the right to stage the 47th contest when Ivar Must's song Everybody, performed by Tanel Padar and Dave Benton, won this year's contest in Copenhagen.

Financial difficulties at Estonian Television, the public broadcaster for Estonia, had caused some concern for the likelihood of the 2002 contest being held in Tallin.

It will be the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest, which can attract a Europe-wide TV audience of around 70 million people, is held in an eastern European country.

Aare Urm, director general of ETV, has described the chance to organize the contest as a "billion-dollar opportunity for Estonia".

The event will take place on May 25th next year, either at the Lillekula stadium or the Saku Hall in Tallinn, the Estonian capital.

According to the BBC, the announcement was made during a visit by officials of the European Broadcast Union (EBU), the Geneva-based association of Europe's public broadcasters, and representatives of the three most recent broadcasters to have hosted the contest.

Ruurd Bierman of the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, chairman of the visiting delegation, said he was impressed by what he saw in Estonia.

"I am convinced that with the help of other EBU members and the Estonian government, Estonian Television would be able to put on a high-quality show next May," said Bierman.

Under the rules of the Eurovision, the song contest can only be organised by the public service broadcasting stations.

The contest, which was set up in 1956, has television viewers in the participating countries make up the jury by phoning in their individual votes.