By Mike Collett
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Africa's soccer chiefs launched an attack on the media - "notably British" - for what it called "repeated, deliberately hateful, defamatory and degrading attacks" on the integrity of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) "and the entire African continent".
In a resolution posted on its website following Monday's general assembly meeting, CAF hit out at reports placing the region's soccer administrators at the centre of allegations of bribery to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar.
The governing body criticised "the persistent manipulation aimed at portraying to the international community that Africa played a preponderant role in voting the candidature of Qatar 2022" and urged its Executive Committee to take legal action, if necessary, against "the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign".
Britain's Sunday Times newspaper has over the last two weekends printed what it says are leaked documents showing bribes were paid to secure the event for Qatar.
Qatar denies any wrongdoing.
Former U.S. prosecutor Michael Garcia, leading FIFA's internal investigation, is due to report in July, around a week after this year's World Cup final.
The issue is casting a huge shadow over the 2014 World Cup which kicks off on Thursday in Sao Paulo, with leading sponsors, who pay hundreds of millions of dollars to associate their brand with the event, calling on soccer's rulers to deal thoroughly with the allegations of bribery.
CAF declared its "total and unreserved support" for its president Issa Hayatou, and expressed its gratitude to FIFA president Sepp Blatter for his "continuous involvement in the development of football in Africa and his personal commitment to the fight against racism".
Speaking in the lobby of Sao Paulo's Grand Hyatt hotel, Hayatou told Reuters: "I am very happy at the way the congress went, and of our continued support for Mr Blatter."
(Writing by Ossian Shine; Editing by Will Waterman)