Kurt Zouma remains part of the first-team plans at West Ham despite infuriating millions of fans this week.
A video of him dropping, kicking and slapping one of his cats was published online. West Ham fined the player $340k, meaning two weeks’ wages, while animal charities asked for Zouma to be prosecuted for his violent acts.
The French defender also lost Adidas as his sponsors, while West Ham’s wellness partner Vitality opted to stop their commercial deal with the club following the incident. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) seized Zouma’s two cats.
Moyes: ‘Zouma is available to play’
Despite all this, Zouma was selected to play against Watford in the Premier League on Tuesday, one day after the footage was released. At the same time, National League club Dagenham and Redbridge have suspended Zouma’s brother Yoan, who is understood to have filmed the video. West Ham manager David Moyes stands firm in his decision to continue fielding Kurt Zouma.
“He’s available to play against Leicester,” Moyes said. “There are different views and opinions on should he be available. We as a club took that decision and I stand by that,” the manager stressed.
More than 310k people have signed an online petition calling for Zouma to be prosecuted. Essex police confirmed it was working with the RSPCA as part of the operation.
Zouma is expected to start for West Ham on Sunday, when the team travels to Leicester. West Ham is currently fourth in the Premier League, on 40 points, one more than Arsenal and Manchester United. Both teams still have games in hand and could surpass WHU in the Champions League race.
West Ham is at +750 for a top-four finish, with (now seventh-placed) Tottenham and Arsenal at +190 and Manchester United at +180.