Johannesburg, June 11: Just as the World Cup is set to kick-start at big stage, there has been a wake up call that fans and members of the 32 national teams competing in this year"s FIFA World Cup may be targets for criminals and terrorists.
The North African Al-Qaeda group Al Maghreb, which is based in Algeria, has reportedly issued a threat to the United States verses England game being played on June 12.
Anneli Botha, a senior researcher on terrorism at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, told ABC News that there have been threats against the British, the Dutch and Danish as well.
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Americans expected to travel to South Africa for the World Cup.
"Large-scale public events like the World Cup may present a wide range of attractive targets for terrorists. There is a heightened risk that extremist groups will conduct terrorist acts within South Africa in the near future," the warning stated. "
FIFA , organizers of the World Cup, has said that that it will take the threats seriously, but will not curb or cancel the games.
''We have freedom in the world to celebrate what we want," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has told reporters.
"As the management of the organization that governs world football, we know there is a threat. We will not stop the organization of the World Cup because we got the threat," Valcke added.