Inter Milan and AS Roma have banned an Italian newspaper from the clubs' training grounds for the rest of 2019 after the daily printed a controversial headline.
Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport has been condemned by anti-racism group Fare for using the headline "Black Friday" along with a picture of players Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku to preview Friday's match between Inter Milan and AS Roma.
Images of Lukaku (Inter Milan) and Smalling (AS Roma) were used along with the headline. Both these players were former teammates at Premier League side Manchester United.
Ever since the headline came out, the newspaper has faced severe backlash for choosing insensitive words to build-up a football match.
Both the clubs also condemned the headline on their social media handles. The targeted players -- Lukaku and Smalling -- also chose to express their displeasure.
"Instead of focusing on a battle between two teams, Corriere dello sport comes with the most dumbest of headlines I have ever seen in my career. You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racism issue," Lukaku tweeted.
"I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words and the impact those words can have," Smalling tweeted.
However, the newspaper has still not come out with a formal apology, rather they chose to defend their headline.
"Black Friday", for those who want and can understand it, was and is only the praise of difference, the pride of difference, the magnificent wealth of difference. If you don't understand it, it's because you can't do it or because you do it," the newspaper said in a statement.
"An innocent title... is transformed into poison by those who have the poison inside."
Italian football has been plagued by racism and Lukaku himself was a victim when the Belgium forward was insulted with monkey chants when he went to take a penalty for Inter Milan during a Serie A match at Cagliari.
A veteran Italian pundit was dropped from one of the country's Sunday night round table programmes in September after suggesting Lukaku could only be stopped by giving him bananas to eat.
Last month, the president of Italian club Brescia said on the sidelines of a Serie A meeting that striker Mario Balotelli's problem was that he was "black", and he was "trying to get whiter." The club said that the comments were sarcastic and aimed at Balotelli's critics.
Last week, all 20 Serie A clubs signed an open letter saying Italian football had to do more to fight racism.
Earlier this year, Englishman Smalling, who has joined Roma on loan from Manchester United, backed a campaign for players to boycott social media for 24 hours in a protest against racism.