On Monday (18 February), the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) noted that they are “extremely disappointed” at Fulham footballer Benjamin Davis for defaulting his National Service (NS) obligations.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the teen player has failed to report for his NS duties.
Last July, Davis, 18, signed a two-year contract to play for the newly promoted English Premier League side Fulham, however he couldn’t get his NS enlistment deferred.
MINDEF announced that it had rejected his deferment application on the basis that Davis signing with Fulham was “no different from the personal pursuits by other pre-enlistees like university studies or working in other professional fields”.
However, in a statement released last July, the FAS mentioned that they strongly supported Davis’ deferment application, and wanted to “persuade MINDEF of the merits of the application”.
Currently, the young footballer is staying overseas without a valid exit permit after failing to report for his service. He could be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed for a maximum of three years if convicted.
“It is thoroughly irresponsible on the part of Mr Davis, and also reneges on his (and his father’s) assurance to the FAS that Mr Davis would discharge his NS commitments and play for the Singapore national team,” a FAS spokesman said.
Despite previously supporting Davis on his deferment, on Monday, the FAS revealed that they never told that the footballer would avoid his NS obligations.
“Mr Davis had lived in Singapore for many years, and has benefited from the resources used to educate and train him as a footballer over this period of time,” said the spokesman.
Davis was invited to play for the Singapore national team, in which he agreed. The FAS told that it has supported his application to defer NS for this reason only.
Although he is in trouble with the law, but netizens are fully supporting him for chasing his dream to play for an international team, and revealed that they would do the same too if they’re given the opportunity. They expressed their support on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page where over 300 comments were received.
Some online users even joked and wrote that they’re actually “extremely disappointed” at FAS, and not the other way around.