Schalke chief financial officer Peter Peters has apologised for a statement that suggested racism drove midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng away from Italy.
He claimed that Boateng "had an arrangement with president Silvio Berlusconi that he could leave if AC Milan qualified for the Champions League".
During his first press conference as a Schalke player, Boateng said that only "sporting reasons had been behind his decision" to sign for Schalke for a reported fee of €12 million this summer.
Peters’ comments sparked further discussion about racism in Italian football, but, later on Monday, he looked to clarify his comments via a statement on the club's official website.
"A statement made by Schalke finance director Peter Peters regarding the transfer of Kevin-Prince Boateng caused something of a stir on Monday, a misunderstanding that Peters deeply regrets," the statement read.
Peters said: "Having spoken to our general manager, Horst Heldt, my initial assumption proved to be completely wrong. He confirmed that racist incidents were definitely not the reason for Kevin's move to Schalke.
"As soon as I'm back at Schalke I will speak to Kevin personally and apologise for what I said. It was certainly not my intention to cast false aspersions on AC Milan or the Italian fans."
Meanwhile, Schalke have acted in the stock exchange to increase a loan, issued last year, by €15 million, leading to suggestions in several German papers that the club were in need of finances to fund the Boateng transfer.
Last week, it was reported the club have delayed all infrastructure developments -- including a new stadium for the reserve team, new training pitches and a "Footbonaut" [an advanced training facility] -- until further notice.