Juventus have been forced into an apology after a tweet was posted on their womenâ€™s teamâ€™s official account which showed one of their players making an offensive eye gesture.
The post was live for around 25 minutes â€“ to the astonishment of thousands on social media â€“ before it was deleted. The tweet attracted universal condemnation, with the club being accused of â€œblatant racismâ€.
Juventus then posted an apology which read: â€œWe sincerely apologise that our tweet, which was not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones, may have offended anyone. Juventus has always been against racism and discrimination.â€
The offensive tweet showed Cecilia Salvai using her fingers to narrow her eyes while she also wore a red training cone on her head.
The US sports commentator Keith Olbermann tweeted: â€œAnother one of those â€œweâ€™re sorry if YOU are offendedâ€ non-apology apology. Itâ€™s blatant racism, Juventus. Acknowledge it, apologise, ask for forgiveness.â€
Later that evening, Orlando Pride posted a message on social media with the England striker Jodie Taylor wearing a T-shirt displaying the words â€œStop Asian hateâ€.
Juventus women are the reigning Serie A champions, having won the previous four titles. They are now coached by the former Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro.
Earlier this year Juventus described themselves as being â€œat the forefront of the fight against discriminationâ€.