Premier League star Kurt Zouma was caught on video while kicking and slapping his pet cat. The recording was made on Sunday, a day after he played for West Ham United in the FA Cup.
Adidas dropped Zouma’s sponsorship following the disturbing video, while all his pets were seized by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). In his native France, Zouma risks up to four years in jail if found guilty of hitting his cat.
The defender was also fined two weeks’ wages by West Ham. The $340k will be directed towards animal charities.
RSPCA employees have asked Zouma to hand over the pets and they are now out of his $2.7 million home in Essex. Adidas revealed through a statement that the French international is ‘no longer a contracted athlete’. Vitality UK also suspended their sponsorship deal with West Ham, with Experience Kissimmee and Yield App also considering to drop the East London club after manager David Moyes chose to name him in the starting 11 against Watford this week.
Adidas has ended its sponsorship deal with Kurt Zouma following the video footage of him kicking and slapping one of his cats.
He was fined $338,763 by West Ham this morning and his two cats have been taken into care by the RSPCA, a UK animal welfare charity. pic.twitter.com/OW0HoPl5Sh
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 9, 2022
“West Ham United can confirm that the club is supporting an RSPCA investigation into the actions of Kurt Zouma in the video circulated online this week,” Zouma’s club said.
“Kurt is extremely remorseful and, like everyone at the club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the need for action to be taken,” West Ham’s statement added.
“Separate to the RSPCA’s investigation and pending further sanction once the outcome of that process is determined, West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been fined the maximum amount possible following his actions in the video that circulated. The player has immediately accepted the fine, which will be donated to animal welfare charities.”
“West Ham United would like to reiterate our condemnation of Kurt’s actions and make it clear that the matter continues to be handled with the utmost seriousness,” the release concludes.
Calls in France for Zouma to be prosecuted
A legal complaint has been filed against Zouma in Paris. 30 Million Friends Foundation, the largest animal rights group in France, appealed to the prosecutors asking them to investigate the player.
“We condemn this heinous act, have asked that the player be suspended from the France team, and filed a legal complaint against him,” a spokesperson for the foundation revealed.
Under the French Penal Code, the mistreatment of animals can lead to sentences of up to four years in prison and to a maximum fine worth $70k.
Aggravating factors in criminal prosecution include acts of violence being committed in front of other people.
Members of civil groups and politicians have also asked for Zouma’s suspension from the French national team.
West Ham United manager David Moyes was also under criticism for playing Zouma on Tuesday evening, in the 1-0 home win against Watford. The player was booed by his own crowd every time he touched the ball. Moyes motivated starting Zouma by saying he had to field his best possible 11.
David Moyes on his decision to play Kurt Zouma against Watford after a video surfaced Monday showing him kicking and slapping a cat. pic.twitter.com/2naqfLXSzK
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 8, 2022
Zouma was filmed kicking and slapping his pet cat and heard laughing as he did it. The video was first published by The Sun. Zouma’s brother, Yoan, is also having a tough time at fifth-tier club Dagenham & Redbridge. Fans are calling for him to be released, threatening to boycott the team’s games if the hierarchy doesn’t act. Yoan Zouma is heard laughing in the video he filmed at his brother’s luxury home.
“I deeply regret my involvement in the video that has been widely circulated and unreservedly apologize, not only for my actions, but for the upset and distress this will have caused to so many people,” Yoan said.