Ramón Vega will be Infantino's rival in the FIFA presidential elections

Swiss-born to Spanish parents, Vega will put himself forward as an alternative to the current president in the June elections. He needs support from five federations.

Ramón Vega will be Infantino's rival in the FIFA presidential elections

Former Switzerland international Ramón Vega is the first candidate to put himself forward to rival Gianni Infantino in FIFA's presidential elections which will take place at the FIFA Congress on 5 June in Paris. Diario AS understands that Vega, Swiss-born to Spanish parents, is compiling all of the relevant paperwork needed to submit his candidacy entry forms before the 5 February deadline. He will require the written support of at least five member associations, according to the electoral regulations, although Vega insists that won't be a problem in his case. "I've travelled all over the world, I've met with a lot of people from the world of politics and football. They have pledged their support because they see something positive in having an alternative in the process, that the presidency will be more democratic", he explained.

Better prepared

Vega, who considered presenting his candidacy in the last two Congresses, feels that his moment has arrived: "Everything went very quickly the last time. Now I've had three years to travel and get to understand the concerns of some federations, particularly the smaller ones. It's important to discuss those matters with those members on their home soil, not in Zurich.If there was as much transparency as Infantino claims, the associations wouldn't have so many questions. They have been promised a lot of things, including money, but nothing has arrived".

During his playing days, Vega turned out for clubs including Grasshopper, Tottenham, Cagliari, Watford and Celtic, and was capped 23 times at full international level by Switzerland. He feels that FIFA needs a more democratic stance. "Association members need to have more financial independence and that can only be achieved with a good programme. Also, communication between Confederations can improve. FIFA should build a family with all of them", he added.

2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in DavosFIFA President Gianni Infantino pictured at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland last week.

A World Cup with 48 teams

Infantino's promise to expand the World Cup to 48 teams is another issue which requires serious discussion. "It's a good idea to have 48 teams competing at the World Cup, but you cannot promise such a thing without proper preparation. First of all you need to put all of the federations in a competitive position and not only that - you also need to ensure that competing nations are able to compete against the best teams; only then would be able to organize an expanded World Cup which will remain interesting for spectators and businesses".

He also has his doubts about Infantino's proposal for the Club World Cup. "UEFA have already rejected it. It's important that the European association members can see that there is someone else, who is also European, who will give them an opportunity for change, and politically, offer greater democracy. At the moment, they are not protesting because it's a battle they can't win but there are a lot of issues in which they are against the current president".