United Kingdom

Abba given nul points by UK in 1974 Eurovision because British judges were 'cunning'

Asked if the band had discussed the “nul points” mystery with Newton John, Ulvaeus replied: “We certainly talked that night, but I don’t remember that - it was such chaos, I hardly remember anything other than waking up the next day and finding myself and us being all over the globe suddenly.

“[We had] gone overnight from this obscure Swedish band to world fame… so unreal.”

Tactical or political voting has been blamed for the UK’s poor performance in recent decades.

Sir Terry Wogan quit as presenter of the BBC’s coverage in 2008, the year that the UK’s Andy Abraham came last. Russian won, and Sir Terry said: “I don’t want to be presiding over another debacle. Russia were going to be the political winners from the beginning.”

Ulvaeus spoke to BBC Breakfast in his role as president of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, which has issued a new report arguing that record companies should pay songwriters a larger proportion of the money made from streaming services.

It is a familiar grumble when Eurovision comes around: that the UK entry is a victim of tactical voting by rival nations.

However, according to Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, the UK started it.

When Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo, the UK awarded it “nul points”. According to Ulvaeus, that was a tactical move designed to boost the fortunes of the UK’s performer, Olivia Newton John.

“The jury could have been as cunning as that - very likely, actually,” Ulvaeus told the BBC.

“The Brits were the first ones to embrace us after winning. Kind of strange they would give us zero points. It sounds like they were trying to do something cunning.”

Newton John was placed fourth that night with her song Long Live Love. Ulvaeus said: “Frida (bandmate Anni-Frid Lyngstad) is a good friend with Olivia. She says that Olivia knew that we would win.”

Football news:

Griezmann spoke with Hamilton and visited the Mercedes boxes at the Spanish Grand Prix
Barcelona feels that Neymar used it. He said that he wanted to return, but extended his contract with PSG (RAC1)
Aubameyang to the Arsenal fans: We wanted to give you something good. I am sorry that we could not
Atletico did not lose at the Camp Nou. Busquets' injury is the turning point of the match (and the championship race?)
Verratti injured his knee ligaments in PSG training. Participation in the Euro is still in question
Neymar's contract in one picture. Mbappe wants the same one
Manchester United would like to sign Bellingham in the summer, not Sancho. Borussia do not intend to sell Jude