AC Milan have joined the backlash against Serie A’s use of artwork featuring monkeys to illustrate its anti-racism campaign.
The Italian league has been heavily criticised by the Fare anti-discrimination network and by its own clubs.
The Rossoneri are the latest to voice their unhappiness, and a club statement on their official Twitter account read: “Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism and were surprised by the total lack of consultation.”
The paintings are intended to “spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood” and will be on permanent display at the entrance to the Serie A headquarters in Milan, the league said in a statement on Monday.
Italian football has been blighted by monkey chants and other incidents of racist abuse this season.
Fare said on Twitter: “Once again Italian football leaves the world speechless.
“In a country in which the authorities fail to deal with racism week after week #SerieA have launched a campaign that looks like a sick joke.”
Roma also tweeted a statement expressing surprise at the league’s approach.
“AS Roma was very surprised to see what appears to be an anti-racist campaign from Serie A featuring painted monkeys on social media today,” read the tweet on Monday.
“We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don’t believe this is the right way to do it.”
Two weeks ago Italian paper Corrierre dello Sport was criticised for using the headline ‘Black Friday’ on its front page alongside images of Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku and Roma’s Chris Smalling.
The former Manchester United team-mates were due to go up against each other for their new clubs the following day.
Lukaku himself and Brescia forward Mario Balotelli are among those to make allegations of being racially abused by supporters during games this season.
The PA news agency has contacted Serie A for comment.