• Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

National youth goalkeeper Veer Karan Sobti to be punished by MINDEF for training with Lion City Sailors while on medical leave. Club admits gap in communications.

Feb 16, 2023 ,

National youth and Lion City Sailors goalkeeper Veer Karan Sobti will be punished by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) according to the Singapore Armed Forces Disciplinary Guidelines for training with the Lion City Sailors while he was on medical leave during his Basic Military Training.


TMSG has seen an email which was sent by a MINDEF officer to a member of the public who filed a complaint about the goalkeeper training with the Sailors while he was on medical leave from BMT. 

The email from MINDEF stated that it had “investigated the matter” of Sobti training with the club while he was on medical leave during his basic military training. 

“MINDEF/SAF takes a serious view of the conduct and discipline of our service personnel,” the statement read.

“Strict guidelines and rules are imposed on service personnel who are competing professionally in their respective sports. 

“They are required to fulfil their NS obligations and are not allowed to participate in external activities without prior approval and whilst on medical leave.”

The matter was first made known to TMSG by an anonymous reader who sent an email saying that it was unfair that the young goalkeeper was able to train and play at the Sailors Academy at Mattar Road while he was serving BMT and while he was on medical leave. 

Photos of the player training with the Sailors were posted on the social media platforms of staff and players.

Photos of the player in training was submitted to TMSG as evidence of the player’s breach. 

The 19-year-old was a member of the Young Lions side in 2021 and joined Tanjong Pagar United on loan in 2022 on a season long loan from the Sailors, but his contract was suspended when he enlisted.

Born in Hong Kong, he settled in Singapore when he was three-years-old.

In 2019, he represented Singapore in the Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship Qualifiers.



In a detailed response to TMSG, the Lion City Sailors said that Sobti’s “contract had earlier been suspended, before he enlisted for Full-time National Service”, and “he was not an active player with the club when he requested to join training sessions.”

“Sobti had informed some staff members of his NS medical status, and the moment this was surfaced to club management he was immediately disallowed from participating in training sessions,” the club said.

The Sailors added that that the club has made it a priority to engage with the authorities as well as the respective units of Academy Scholars who are part of our Early Enlistment Scheme. 

“Sobti is not part of the club’s Early Enlistment Scheme,” the club reiterated.

“While individualised training programmes are put in place for these Scholars to ensure they continue to maintain a level of physical conditioning as close to those required of elite-level athletes as possible, Scholars sign a bond to ensure that they observe a code of conduct befitting of a Full-time National Serviceman – they are soldiers first, and footballers only during time outside of that required for their duties.”


The Sailors admitted that the training issue caused by Sobti “highlighted a gap in communications protocol at the club, giving rise to a situation that goes against what the club stands for.”

“The club launched an internal review, and after investigations were concluded, the staff in question have been reprimanded, with corrective action implemented to ensure that these processes are tightened so such a situation never happens in the future,” the Sailors added.

“The Sailors are committed to develop a structure that provides a platform for our NSFs footballers to not just serve their obligations, but to excel in our Military or Home Team while continuing to progress as elite-level athletes.”

The Sailors ended off by stating that they were pleased to note that its Scholars under the Scheme “have embraced the spirit of excellence in discharging their duties as NSFs with several performing at the top level of their respective cohorts.”

“We will continue to demand the highest standards from our Scholars in the discharge of their NSF duties, and also in terms of keeping up with individual training programmes to ensure that they remain in the best possible physical condition to handle the rigours of trials with clubs abroad, or to challenge for a spot in the club’s first team.”


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