SINGAPORE: Harvey Davis, the father of Singaporean footballer Ben Davis, said in a statement on Wednesday (Jun 18) that it is "unfortunate" that the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has an impression that his son would not return to Singapore to serve his National Service (NS).
This follows a statement from MINDEF, also on Wednesday, which said that the teenager had "no intention" of fulfilling his NS duties. It also said the teenager's actions were meant to "further his own professional career, not national interest".
"There are a lot of variables all dependent on his development and progression, and anyone who understands how professional football and sports works will understand this," Mr Davis said in a media statement.
"In my discussions with SportSG and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), I was clear that Ben should do his NS but the question is just when," he added.
"This point was reiterated in an email response which was sent to MCCY on May 15. In that email, I had said very clearly that while renunciation was an option, it is not Ben’s intention at all as he would like to represent Singapore."
Mr Davis also said that he made it clear that he agreed "100 per cent" that his son should do his National Service: "My older boy has already completed his NS and both Ben and his younger brother Jai will also complete their NS. The only question is timing for Ben as we would like to give him the best opportunity to play at the highest possible professional level in the UK and Europe.
"If Ben does not get a renewed contract or new contract by May 2020 then he should return to serve his NS."
Mr Davis said that he has not met with anyone from MINDEF and was not aware of what was presented by MCCY to MINDEF with regard to his son's request for deferment.
The 17-year-old midfielder has signed a two-year contract with Fulham, the newly promoted Premier League (EPL) club. He is the first Singaporean to ink a professional contract with a top-tier English club.