Second-place France seeks 'transparency' on Eurovision drugs flap

·2-min read

France's Europe minister called Monday for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Maneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday's contest.

"I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency," Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio.

"If there is a problem, there are penalties... Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems," he said.

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers' favourite to end France's 44-year Eurovision drought with her moody ballad "Voila."

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Maneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi's 499.

"I don't want to be a sore loser," Beaune said, but "in terms of image, we can't let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour."

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had already weighed in on Sunday, telling RTL radio that "Eurovision is responsible for ensuring the honour of this competition."

- 'Really offended' -

The president of France's public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David's backstage antics.

"France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal," France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper.

"The vote was quite clearly in Italy's favour -- it didn't steal its victory and that's what matters," she said.

David on Monday again denied drug use, saying the video footage shows him bending down to inspect a glass that someone had broken.

"I feel really offended" by the allegations, he told BBC television, adding that "I think this has actually overshadowed our winning."

"We will get drug-tested and prove that it's all speculation," he said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

"What's true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever... it's not my problem," she told France 2 television on Sunday.

bur-vl-js/jz