SINGAPORE: Footballer Ben Davis, who defaulted on his National Service (NS) obligations, has been called up for Thailand's provisional Southeast Asian (SEA) Games squad.
The Football Association of Thailand made the announcement on its website on Saturday (Sep 28), and Davis has been named as part of the provisional squad for the tournament that will be held in the Philippines from Nov 30 to Dec 11.
The 18-year-old, who currently plays for Fulham Football Club, failed to report for NS as required and has stayed overseas without a valid exit permit, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said earlier this year.
"Mr Davis has committed offences under the Enlistment Act, and is liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years," the ministry had said.
Davis' application to defer his NS enlistment was rejected by MINDEF, who said he did not “meet the criteria for long-term deferment from full-time NS".
"As all male Singaporeans liable for full-time NS put aside personal pursuits to dutifully enlist and serve their NS, it would not be fair to approve applications for deferment for individuals to pursue their own careers and development," the ministry added.
The former Singapore Sports School student had joined Fulham on a two-year scholarship deal in July 2017.
He is the first Singaporean to sign a professional contract with a top-tier English club, although Fulham were relegated to the Championship at the end of last season.
He made his first-team debut for Fulham on Aug 27, coming on as a substitute in the 89th minute as the Championship outfit fell to a 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup.