AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam will try everything possible to have record signing Sebastien Haller available for the Europa League knockout rounds after failing to register the Ivory Coast international, coach Erik ten Hag said on Thursday.
But he conceded an administrative error will likely cost the club a vital player in their bid to win the trophy, blaming a computer glitch for leaving the 26-year-old French-born striker off the additions to the squad for the rest of the competition.
"It is of course incredibly annoying. Firstly for the player, but also for us. Of course we didn't sign him for nothing," Ten Hag told a news conference.
“Haller was indeed on the list, but it is an administrative error. Something went wrong with the computers, just a check mark on and off.
“In the first instance, (technical director) Marc Overmars and I are responsible. Of course, people makes mistakes, but this is a top sports organisation. This mistake should never have happened.
“Haller is of course also very disappointed. Although he also understands that this was not done on purpose,” said Ten Hag, who added there was little chance of leniency from UEFA.
“But we will keep trying as long as there is hope."
The 22.5 million euro ($26.97 million) signing from West Ham United is currently ineligible for the rest of this season’s Europa League, starting with Ajax’s last-32 first-leg clash at French Ligue 1 leaders Lille on Feb. 18.
Clubs still competing were permitted to add three more players to their roster by Tuesday’s deadline but Ajax included only Oussama Idrissi, who joined on loan from Sevilla last week.
Registration is done by the clubs who enter changes into a computer system at UEFA, have it checked by the home association to confirm all players are eligible and then confirm the final list with European football’s governing body.
($1 = 0.8342 euros)
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Nick Macfie and Ken Ferris)