Serie A clubs have called on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting: "We have a serious problem."

Several matches in Italy's top flight have been marred by instances of racist abuse, with Inter's Romelu Lukaku and Brescia forward Mario Balotelli among the high-profile victims this season.

The incidents have prompted public discussion of the issue and, following talks with the league and with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Serie A clubs addressed supporters.

The 20 teams released a letter together on Friday, pleading with fans to recognise they cannot wait for racism to "magically disappear".

It read: "We have to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism. It's a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years. Images of players being racially abused in Italian football have been viewed and discussed all around the world this season and that shames us all.

"No individual should ever be subjected to racist abuse - inside or outside of football - and we can no longer stay silent on this issue or wait for it to magically disappear.

"Driven by the clubs, positive conversations have been held in recent weeks with Lega Serie A, FIGC and international experts on how to tackle and eradicate this issue from the game.

"We, the undersigned clubs, are united by our desire for serious change, and Lega Serie A has stated its intention to lead the way by delivering a comprehensive and robust Serie A anti-racism policy, stricter new laws and regulations and a plan for educating those within the game about the scourge of racism.

"We don't have any more time to waste. We must now act with speed, with purpose and with unity, and we call on you, the fans, to support us in this vitally important endeavour."