By Andrew Warshaw

Gabon goalkeeper_Didier_Ovono_July_25July 25 - Three clubs, two French and one Gabonese, have refused to release players to compete for Gabon at London 2012, putting them on a collision course with FIFA.

The players in question are goalkeeper Didier Ovono (pictured) from Le Mans and defenders Bruno Ecuele from Lorient and Remy Ebanega from Gabon club US Bitam.

Back in 2008 the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that clubs were not obliged to release players, though earlier this year a FIFA mandate said it was compulsory for under-23 players to be available for the Olympics which, it said, should be treated as an official tournament applying the normal rules for international fixtures.

The ruling stunned many clubs who argued that the Olympics had never been part of the international calendar.

A FIFA spokesman said: "The national federation [of Gabon] are trying to come to an agreement with the clubs.

"We are aware of the situation and are maintaining a watching brief."

Gabon are due to play their opening match against Switzerland at St James' Park, Newcastle, tomorrow.

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