Professional Footballers' Assocation chairman Clarke Carlisle has denied the union will remove Luis Suarez from the shortlist for the Premier League Player of the Year award following his recent indiscretion.
Suarez, 26, accepted a charge of violent conduct from the Football Association following his bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday's draw at Anfield, which prompted calls for him to be taken out of contention for the prestigious award.
The Uruguay international is a favourite alongside Robin van Persie and Gareth Bale to be named as Player of the Year and Carlisle believes the FA's investigation into Suarez will not affect his chances of winning the gong.
"It's not possible. The Player of the Year award is voted on footballing merit alone," Carlisle said. "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 Suárez 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."
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has leapt to the defence of Suarez, insisting his international team-mate simply made a "mistake" and has been unfairly treated in the aftermath.
"All of us who compete at a thousand revs and maximum adrenalin are prone to some mistakes," Lugano said on his personal website. "Luis is the most competitive of all. He made a mistake and said sorry.
"In the same way that a defender makes a mistake going for the attacker's leg instead of the ball or when coaches, referees, journalists or even directors make mistakes without the adrenalin of competition.
"The (Uruguay) squad support him because you see people's quality in everyday things. The people who work with him like, respect and protect him, as much in Uruguay as Holland or England. That's the most important thing in life."