• Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

National youth goalkeeper Veer Karan Sobti is punished by MINDEF, serves time at the SAF Detention Barracks for training with Lion City Sailors while on MC.

Mar 14, 2023

National youth and Lion City Sailors goalkeeper Veer Karan Sobti is serving a sentence in the Singapore Armed Forces Detention Barracks (SAFDB) for training with the Lion City Sailors while on medical leave.


On 16 February, TMSG had revealed that MINDEF was investigating the matter after photos of Sobti were posted on social media showing him training with the Sailors, even though the recruit was on medical leave.

When the story first broke on TMSG, Sobti’s supporters had flooded TMSG socials with the #freesobti and #freekaran hashtags, which had then given rise to the suspicion that the youngster was possibly serving time in the military prison.


In a response to the Straits Times, a spokesman for MINDEF said in a story published on 13 March that “National Servicemen found to abuse privileges or medical leave will face disciplinary measures.

“Investigations revealed that Recruit Veer Karan Sobti, a full-time national serviceman, sought medical attention and obtained medical leave, which exempted him from military training.

“On multiple occasions, while on medical leave, REC Veer trained with the Lion City Sailors Football Club. 

“When interviewed by his superiors, REC Veer denied attending the football training sessions.

“REC Veer has been summary trialled for disobedience of a general order for leaving his home without permission while on medical leave, and conduct to the prejudice of good discipline for lying to his superiors.”

MINDEF also stated that the punishment imposed for such offences would include being sent to the SAFDB. 


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 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.

The FAS told the Straits Times that it “does not condone any footballers not fulfilling their national service obligations and/or meeting expected conduct, as it is a duty expected of every Singaporean male.”


In response to TMSG when the story was first published, 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.”


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