The Confederations Cup could be abandoned because of the protests which have swept Brazil, local media said on Friday.
CBN radio and the website of the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, both respected, mainstream media, carried reports that the eight-team tournament, considered a dry run for next year’s World Cup, was in danger.
Protesters are demanding an end to government corruption and demanding better public services while claiming too much money is being spent on the competition, next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics that are costing almost £26billion combined.
‘There is strong speculation, which won’t go away,’ he added, referring to rumours that the competition was in danger.
The Estado said that FIFA was negotiating with the teams to try to persuade them to stay.
‘The protests in the streets of Brazilian cities have forced FIFA to negotiate with the teams to keep them in the Confederations Cup,” it said.
‘By law, if there is no guarantee of safety, it could force the tournament to be cancelled.’
The Estado said that two FIFA vehicles were attacked in Salvador, where Uruguay played Nigeria on Wednesday, and its employees had been instructed not to wear uniforms outside their hotel.
The Folha de Sao Paulo said that FIFA and the participating teams were ‘terrified’ by the situation.
‘The competition has become a nightmare for the organisation,’ it said. ‘FIFA didn’t imagine that the event would be perfect but the size of the problems is worse than the worst-case scenario.’
No matches for scheduled for Friday. Play is due to resume on Saturday with Italy facing Brazil in Salvador and Japan playing Mexico in Belo Horizonte.
The wife of Brazil and Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar was also the victim of an armed robbery in Fortaleza but played down the incident.
Riot police battled the public in at least five cities with intense fighting taking place in Rio De Janeiro, where an estimated 300,000 demonstrators appeared.
An 18-year-old man was killed in Sao Paolo state after a car drove through barricades as the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, called off a visit to Japan to deal with the crisis.
Speaking on twitter, Cesar’s wife, Susana Werner, played down the armed robbery that took place just before midnight on Wednesday in the city where hosts Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in soccer’s Confederations Cup.
‘It was a routine robbery, just like all the ones I’ve heard about,’ she said.
‘It was the first time, but I was prepared to not react. The criminals were young and just wanted my belongings. There was no act of aggression, just a gun pointed at me.’
Werner said she was driving when she suffered the robbery.
‘It could have happened to anyone, there were three of them in the middle of the street, waiting for the first car which passed. I won the prize.’
The incident comes after Spanish players were burgled at thier hotel in the northern city of Recife.
Six Spanish players, including Gerard Pique, reported that goods, including money, had been stolen from their rooms, according to Spanish daily newspaper Marca and the EFE news agency.
The players reportedly discovered their money was missing as they prepared to leave Recife on Monday after the 2-1 win over Uruguay the previous day.
‘We know that there was a police report and this was being dealt with by the relevant authorities,’ FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola said. ‘We have also been in touch with the team.’
Protestors also delayed Brazil’s opening match with Japan as police struggled to keep up a cordon outside the National Stadium in Brasilia.
Car drivers are often held up at gunpoint when they are stuck in traffic and often prefer to run red lights at night rather than take the risk of being held up.
Violent crime also happens on buses, where gangs of armed criminals board the vehicle and demand valuables from the passengers.
Other forms of crime include so-called ‘express kidnappings’ where the victim is put in a car, driven to cash points and forced at gun or knife point to withdraw as much money as possible.