Singer Aidan Cassar was warned "several times" that he was breaking Malta Eurovision Song Contest rules before he was eventually disqualified, organisers said on Tuesday.
Despite the multiple warnings, Aidan continued to upload a number of unauthorised posts on social media about his song Reġina.
On Monday, organisers announced that they were disqualifying him from participating in the contest to select Malta's 2023 Eurovision entry.
Aidan is one of the most popular singers in Malta and his entry Reġina - a song featuring Maltese, English and Spanish - was considered among this year's favourites.
According to competition rules, singers are barred from posting about their entry from the quarter-final stage onwards.
On Tuesday, a PBS spokesperson for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest said Aidan repeatedly broke that rule by publishing a number of posts on Instagram and Facebook, despite being warned.
The spokesperson said, for this reason, PBS was forced to disqualify him.
The spokesperson explained that singers were aware of the regulations, as they were explained to them at a meeting with organisers held after the names of the quarter-finalists were announced.
What do the rules state?
According to the contest rules:
"The publication of any social media post, promotion material, interviews or media presence/exposure from the announcement of the quarter-finalists onwards is strictly prohibited. Any breach of this clause will lead to automatic disqualification."
The singer's social media profile features a number of posts promoting his entry into this year's festival. The most recent, dated January 20, was posted to his Instagram and Facebook accounts and featured a video of Aidan and his dancers practicing.
Clips of Aidan's track Reġina have been removed from the Eurovision Song Malta YouTube channel and Facebook page.
When asked to provide more detail about the disqualification decision, a PBS spokesperson referred Times of Malta to a TVM article.
In that article, a spokesperson said:
"Every competition has its rules. The rules are there to ensure the process is impartial and all singers are given the same chance and the same opportunities, irrespective of their individual means and resources."
"There are clear rules that say no promotion may be carried out from when the names of the quarter-finals are announced. We do this in order to give the same space equally and above all so no one will take advantage in one way or another over the other participants."
On Tuesday a petition called 'Bring back AIDAN to Malta Eurovision 2023' was set up. The petition, presented by Christopher Pace, had over 420 signatures as of Tuesday evening.
"The unnecessary delay between the announcement and the (vague) clarification did not only put AIDAN's career, reputation and mental health in jeopardy but also challenged the integrity of the competition," the petition read.