Serie A chief executive Luigi De Siervo has apologised for the "inappropriate" artwork featuring monkeys to illustrate its anti-racism campaign, with a new concept set to be presented early next year.

The Italian league has been heavily criticised by the Fare anti-discrimination network and by its own clubs, with AC Milan the latest to voice their unhappiness.

The paintings had been intended to "spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood" and were set to be on permanent display at the entrance to the Serie A headquarters in Milan.

On Tuesday, De Siervo accepted the campaign choice had not made the intended impact.

"I express sincere apologies for the artwork that was presented yesterday, I realised it was inappropriate," De Siervo said in a statement.

"What cannot be questioned is the strong and constant condemnation by Serie A against all forms of discrimination and racism, and we are committed to eradicate this from our beloved league.

"The league is working on its official anti-racism campaign, which cannot be identified with Simone Fugazzotto's work, and will be presented by the end of February."