May 02, 2013
Luis Suarez was suspended 10 games for biting Branislav Ivanovic.
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Uruguayan Luis Suarez, a contender for England's Footballer of the Year award before being banned for 10 matches for biting, still collected two votes from the country's football writers in the poll won by Tottenham's Gareth Bale on Thursday.

Bale, 23, topped journalists poll with 53 per cent of the votes to claim a narrow victory over Manchester United forward Robin van Persie. Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata was third.

Liverpool's Suarez, however, had been a strong contender to become the first South American to win the award until he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm during the 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield last month, just four days before voting started.

The English FA banned him for 10 matches and Football Writers' Association chairman Andy Dunn said that once Suarez bit Ivanovic his chances of winning the award disappeared.

"There is no doubting the incredible talent of Luis Suarez, and I think at one point a lot of our members believed that his behaviour was improving, and for that reason, several seemed prepared to vote for him. However, the biting incident changed all of that," Dunn said.

"In the end nearly every writer apart from two found it impossible to give our award to someone who had just been banned for 10 games by the Football Association for biting an opponent.

"Some people have the view that the receipt of a prestigious award can have redemptive powers, that it can make players realise they have responsibilities - clearly the two who voted for Suarez must think along those lines."

Suarez, also banned in 2011 for eight matches after racially insulting Patrice Evra of Manchester United, had re-established his reputation as one of the best players in the world with 23 Premier League goals this season.

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