Kurt Zouma cat video case: Latest updates on fine, suspension, sponsors reaction, as defender loses cats amid RSPCA investigation

Kurt Zouma cat video case: Latest updates on fine, suspension, sponsors reaction, as defender loses cats amid RSPCA investigation

There is plenty of fallout from Kurt Zouma’s abuse of his pet cat as seen on a Feb. 7 video posted to social media, and the incident is costing the West Ham defender in more ways than one.

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has taken possession of his two cats, and West Ham has also formally fined the player two weeks worth of wages — those will be donated to an animal charity. But sponsors are also responding with adidas and Vitality scrapping deals with the player and club. 

The first moves came a day after West Ham manager David Moyes opted to start Zouma despite the uproar surrounding the graphic nature of the video (below) in which Zouma drop-kicks his pet, slaps it and throws an object at it as laughter is heard in the background.

(Note: The footage below shows animal abuse and will be disturbing to some.)

The fact that Moyes defended his decision to play Zouma in the face of the backlash created a public outcry of its own and West Ham sponsor Vitality opted to withdraw its sponsorship due to what it feels is the club’s poor response to the matter.

Will Kurt Zouma lose his cats?

The RSPCA confirmed on Feb. 9 that the cats were in its care, although according to West Ham’s statement, it was a case of Zouma “delivering his family’s two cats to the RSPCA for assessment.”

According to language on the RSPCA’s site, if the organization secures a conviction after the investigation and prosecution of a case, those convicted can be “banned from keeping animals” if the court decides it’s appropriate.

“When a conviction is secured, the court is then able to permanently confiscate animals,” reads the language on the site. “If signed over to our care we can then find them loving homes.”

How much was Zouma fined for kicking, hitting his cat?

The West Ham defender was docked two weeks of wages by the club, estimated by media outlets to hover in the range of $340,000 (£250,000).

According to West Ham’s Feb. 9 statement, Zouma will not be challenging the fine and the funds will be donated to animal welfare charities.

Will Zouma be suspended after cat video?

The West Ham statement announcing his fine did not include mention of a suspension, but it did leave the club an opportunity for future discipline depending on the result of the RSPCA investigation. 

“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.”

After Moyes chose to start Zouma in the first game after the video surfaced (Feb. 8), it’s clear that only a self-imposed club sanction will force the defender to sit out a future match. Moyes did make it clear on Feb. 8 that the club was still looking into the matter, leaving a potential club suspension on the table with the RSPCA inquiry still ongoing.

“It’s something we’re all disappointed with and something we can’t understand,” Moyes said. “He’ll learn from it [but] today I had to pick a football team that gave me the best chance of winning the game as manager of West Ham.

“I know how people feel, but I’m also a football manager here. My feeling was that Kurt has apologized and I understand a lot of people will not just be accepting of an apology. But to me he came out and [apologized] honestly and I had to do my job.”

For now the maximum punishment is a fine and a strongly worded rebuke from the club:

“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. However, we believe it is now important to allow the RSPCA to conduct their investigation in a fair and thorough manner, and will be making no further comment at this stage.”

Could Zouma be arrested for animal cruelty? 

The Metropolitan Police has decided not to pursue the case, but Essex Police are working with the RSPCA after the case was referred to them by their Surrey counterparts.

If the RSPCA investigation reveals a criminal act, it could result in the relevant authorities taking action.

Could Zouma be prosecuted?

The RSPCA has the ability under common law to prosecute individuals who are suspected of animal abuse or neglect.

“The RSPCA will consider the prosecution of individuals who have committed offenses where animals have been neglected or abused or where the welfare of animals has been, or is likely to be, compromised,” reads the RSPCA’s prosecution policy.

“Alternatives to prosecution will also be considered.”

The investigation by the RSPCA in conjunction with Essex Police is ongoing and a decision to prosecute has yet to be taken.

There are nearly 250,000 people who want to see the RSPCA move forward with prosecution of Zouma, signing an online petition stating their position on the topic. 

Sponsors drop Zouma & West Ham

The club’s handling of the situation was cited by Vitality in suspending its sponsorship of the club on Feb. 9:

“We are hugely disappointed by the judgement subsequently shown by the club in response to this incident,” Vitality said in a statement.

“As such, we are suspending our sponsorship of West Ham United with immediate effect.

“We will now be further engaging with the club to understand what actions they will be taking to address the situation.”

Hours after Vitality’s announcement, adidas moved forward with dropping Kurt Zouma as one of its athletes.

Zouma apologizes for cat video along with brother

Zouma issued a statement the day after the video surfaced: “I want to apologize for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.

“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.

“They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”

Zouma’s brother, Yoan, who plays for Dagenham & Redbridge FC, also issued a statement of apology for his role in filming and posting the video to social media.

“I deeply regret my involvement in the video that has been widely circulated and unreservedly apologise, not only for my actions, but for the upset and distress this will have caused to so many people.

“I am now taking time to reflect on what I have done but wish to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident and not something that I am proud of.”

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.