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England soccer stars ‘will be exempted from national service’ under Tory plans to make 18-year-olds join the army or spend a year volunteering in the community


England footballers will be exempt from national service obligations as part of Tory plans to re-introduce the scheme, a cabinet minister has revealed.

Proposed plans unveiled by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak mean 18-year-olds will be forced to do some form of national service if the Tories win the upcoming general election.

The most recent form of conscription in the United Kingdom was abolished in 1960, requiring all able-bodied British citizens between the ages of 18 and 26 to serve in the armed forces.

Members of the royal family, including the heir to the throne, Prince George, would also have to take part in national service, but footballers within the England set-up could be exempt, according to The Sun.

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride, revealed there would be exemptions under national service plans and when pressed on whether professional English footballers could fall into that category, said: «Yes absolutely.»

England footballers will be exempt from national service obligations under Conservative plans to re-introduce the scheme

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride, has revealed that there will be exemptions under the National Service plans for footballers

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride, has revealed that there will be exemptions under the National Service plans for footballers

He went on to explain the situation, adding: “We would have to recognize that there are certain circumstances where some form of exemption would need to be granted.

«I think the general principle you have stated is absolutely correct – that inevitably there will have to be some, probably quite narrow, exceptions.»

Proposed national service plans would allow 18-year-olds to participate full-time in the armed forces for 12 months or spend one weekend a month for a year «volunteering» in their community.

Mr Sunak’s new system could also include other forms of service including charity and community work such as helping local fire, police and emergency services.

Players aged 18 with a future in England’s professional ranks are usually part of an academy or already competing in the Premier League or EFL.

Players of the England under-17 team at the European Championship in Portugal

Players of the England under-17 team at the European Championship in Portugal

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to reintroduce national service for 18-year-olds if he wins the next election

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However, it has not yet been confirmed at what level of competition individuals would have to play in order to avoid national service obligations.

The system is currently in place in countries such as South Korea, where footballers and professional athletes do not receive an exemption.

Tottenham captain Son Heung-min previously completed a three-week basic military training course in his home country three years ago while the Premier League was on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All able-bodied South Korean men must serve two years in the military, although Son was previously exempted for winning gold at the 2018 Asian Games.



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