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Clubs refuse to release Gabon players

FIFA, world football's governing body, faces a dispute with three clubs over their refusal to release players to Gabon's London Olympics squad.

The development follows a 2008 case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport - which FIFA lost - in which the court ruled that clubs were not obliged to release players.

FIFA said it would "maintain a watching brief" after French outfits Lorient and Le Mans and Gabonese side US Bitam all said they were refusing to release a player.

A FIFA spokesman said: "The national federation are trying to come to an agreement with the clubs. We are aware of the situation and are maintaining a watching brief."

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

Reports suggest Gabon are struggling with injuries after a player was taken to hospital on crutches during a 4-0 friendly win over North-East side Heaton Stannington FC, close to the Gabon training camp in Newcastle, at the weekend.

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