Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle has revealed that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez could still win the PFA Player of the Year, despite the recent controversy surrounding the Uruguayan.
There have been doubts over whether the 26-year-old would be handed the accolade if voted by his peers after he bit the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during the Reds' 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday.
"It's not possible [to remove him from the list]," Carlisle told talkSPORT "The Player of the Year award is voted on footballing merit alone. This isn't club man of the year or most well behaved player. It's voted for by the players on football ability.
"A couple of years ago Ched Evans was in the Team of the Year, he was subsequently sent to prison for rape and we made the decision to stand because the vote was taken well before he got into the trouble and it was on footballing ability alone.
"If we were to change that now because Luis Suarez has bitten someone then that would be a terrible message to send out. We've made that distinction, it's about footballing ability alone, it's voted for by his peers and that's going to remain."
Meanwhile, Suarez is expected to receive a lengthy match-ban from the Football Association this week.