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The Fifa president says that many western governments wanted the tournament in the Gulf due to trade links with the country

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has claimed that European governments encouraged their national football associations to vote in favour of a Qatar World Cup.

The awarding of the 2022 tournament to the Gulf nation has been a controversial issue due to its political stance towards alcohol and homosexuality, and the adverse local weather conditions during June and July.

With the debate over moving the competition to the European winter raging on, Blatter has claimed that many western governments wanted Qatar to be given hosting rights due to trade links with the nations.

"Yes, definitely there was direct political influences," he told die Zeit.

"European leaders recommended to their voting members to vote for Qatar, because they have great economic interests with this country."

The 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010, with the 2018 tournament going to Russia.

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