SINGAPORE: The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is "extremely disappointed" that Fulham footballer Benjamin Davis defaulted on his National Service (NS) obligations, it said on Monday (Feb 18).
"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 spokesman for FAS said.
The association said this in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries on Ministry of Defence's (MINDEF) announcement on Monday that Davis has failed to report for NS as required. The FAS had previously supported the young footballer's application to defer his NS duties.
MINDEF said Davis is currently staying overseas without a valid exit permit after failing to report for service, and warned he could be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed for a maximum of three years if convicted.
Davis, 18, signed a two-year contract with newly promoted English Premier League side Fulham last July, but was unable to get his NS enlistment deferred.
MINDEF said it had rejected his deferment application because Davis signing with Fulham was "no different from the personal pursuits by other pre-enlistees like university studies or working in other professional fields".
The FAS strongly supported Davis' deferment request, it said in a statement last July, and had hoped to "persuade MINDEF of the merits of the application".
On Monday, the FAS said they were never told Davis 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," the spokesman added.
"He was invited to play for the Singapore national team, and he agreed. The FAS had supported Benjamin Davis’ application to defer NS on this basis.
"While the matter will now be dealt with by MINDEF, the FAS wish to state categorically that we do not condone such conduct nor did it ever arise in our discussions with Mr Davis that he would seek to avoid his liability."
Ben's father, Harvey Davis, declined to comment.