The father of a Singaporean footballer who has a two-year deal with English Premier League club Fulham said his son Benjamin Davis would serve National Service (NS), contrary to the impression of the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on the matter.
In a reply to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, Harvey Davis said on Wednesday (18 July) that he has yet to meet anyone from Mindef and that he has been working through the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Sport Singapore and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on his appeal against Mindef’s rejection of his 17-year-old son’s application to defer NS.
The 49-year-old Englishman’s comments were in response to Mindef’s statement earlier Wednesday that Benjamin has no intention of fulfilling his NS duties, especially if he were given a full professional contract after his current deal.
Mindef added that Benjamin’s plans were meant to further his own professional career, not national interest, the latter of which is a prerequisite for it to grant NS deferment.
Harvey, who runs the JSSL football school in Singapore, said he was not aware of what was presented by MCCY to Mindef on his son’s request for deferment.
“In my discussions with Sport SG and MCCY, I was clear that Ben should do his NS but the question is just when…I had said very clearly (in an email to MCCY) that while renunciation (of citizenship) was an option, it “is “NOT” Ben’s intention at all as he would like to represent Singapore.”
The senior Davis pointed out that his older boy has already completed his NS and that Ben’s younger brother Jai will also do his 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,” said Harvey, adding that should Ben not get a renewed or new contract by May 2020, he should return to serve his NS.
He added that the family are unable to commit to a date for Benjamin’s return currently due to the many variables of his development in professional football.
Harvey also urged Mindef to inform his family what new information it requires so that they are able to work with FAS on the matter.