London: The Football Association (FA) bosses are afraid that England`s stars might be a kidnap threat during next month`s World Cup in Brazil.
FA head of teams Tony Conniford said that senior figures have been `freaking out` over reports of violence and murder in Rio de Janeiro`s shanty towns as the largest of these towns is near England`s hotel.
According to the Daily Star, Conniford also revealed that England`s ace footballers like Wayne Rooney and skipper Steven Gerrard might be a prime target for the gangs as they could be stuck on the team bus for up to four hours while commuting between training camp and hotel.
Conniford, who is a former policeman, said to a Brazilian ex-military officer that the problems in Rio have been all over the papers, which is bad as he gets calls from the management, and his bosses at the FA, who are freaking out, asking him if he is sure that it is safe.
Conniferd has been reportedly heard talking to the officer saying that the FA bosses have asked him if it is really going to be safe for the team, adding that they are worried as there are real concerns.
Conniferd said that they have to be extra `vigilant`, and security must be `paramount` as they cannot afford to make any mistakes.
Moreover, Conniferd expressed his concerns regarding the nine-mile trip between the England`s Royal Tulip hotel in Rio, which is overlooked by the Rocinha slum , home to 70,000 people, and the squad`s training base in military camp that takes two hours to commute.
Conniferd said that the traffic there is `awful` adding that even with a police escort it would be a nightmare because of the terrible roads.