Cobblers defender and PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle believes removing Liverpool striker Luis Suarez from the shortlist for the player-of-the-year award would ‘send out a terrible message’.
The Liverpool striker is one of the favourites to win the award this season, after scoring 30 goals for the Reds.
Suarez has been heavily criticised for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during the 2-2 draw between the two sides at Anfield last Sunday, but while there have been calls for the 26-year-old to be withdrawn from the list of nominees, Carlisle says the player will be judged on footballing ability alone.
When asked by talkSPORT whether Suarez’s name should be removed, he said: “No, it’s not possible.
“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 let the award 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.”