Serie A unveiled its 'No To Racism' posters at its headquarters in Milan on Monday. Those posters depicted the faces of three monkeys.
Italian clubs AC Milan and Roma quickly condemned the artwork, with Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis stating the images "came as a surprise, were insensitive and badly timed".
Here is how the national press in Italy and users on social media reacted to the controversy.
News website Il Post reported the artwork on Monday, saying that "predictably, the initiative isn't causing the desired reaction". On Tuesday, it called the project "embarrassing", and Esquire Italia commented that "using monkeys amounts to PR suicide… The world is looking at us, and we just can't get it right".
News agency Adnkronos even enlisted the help of a sociologist, Chiara Saraceno, to help explain why the artwork has caused such controversy: "Even if the core idea is to remind people that we all descend from the apes… it could be seen to mean that some people are closer to monkeys, while others have evolved further."
Twitter user Simone Fontana wrote: "Serie A is trying to solve an issue it doesn't understand, know or care about. And that is why we shouldn't ask those who cause the problems how to solve them."
Journalist Leonardo Bianchi said using monkeys in a campaign against racism in Italy, "where black women MPs are still compared to 'orangutans', is hardly a stroke of genius".