Updated: 15/02/17 : 12:32:13
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World :: Eurovision chaos as organising team quit

The Eurovision Song Contest has hit a major road bump, after 21 top level staff organising the event resigned en masse.

The Ukrainian Eurovision team say they were stripped of major responsibilities in December, when a new boss was appointed to the organising committee.

According to their resignation letter, they were "completely blocked" from making decisions about the show.

The EBU, which founded Eurovision, told Ukraine's public broadcaster to "stick to the timeline" despite the upheaval.

It insisted the event would go ahead as planned in Kiev this May.

Among the team members who resigned were two executive producers of this year's show.

All the staff were appointed by the Ukraine Public Broadcaster (UA:PBC), which is organising the contest after Ukrainian singer Jamala won last year's event with the song 1944.

In an open letter published by Strana, the team said: "Hereby we, the Eurovision team, for whom this contest has become not only part of our work but also part of our life, officially inform that we are resigning and stopping work on preparations for the organisation of the contest."

They said preparations "stopped for almost two months" after the appointment of Eurovision co-ordinator Pavlo Hrytsak last year, adding, "the work of our team was completely blocked".

They also said a decision to increase the event's budget to 29m euro (24.5m), up from 22m euro (18.6m) would deprive Ukraine's state broadcaster of millions in profit.

The EBU said it could not comment on the staffing matters raised in the letter, but thanked the team for their hard work.

In a statement, it added: "We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the Reference Group to ensure a successful Contest in May."

This year's Eurovision Song Contest final is due to take place in Kiev on 13 May.