Footballer Kurt Zouma was fined two weeks’ wages by his club West Ham United and lost his sponsorship contract with Adidas after being caught on video kicking and slapping a cat.
An animal welfare charity took over two of Zouma’s cats while investigating the video footage which is now circulating widely on social media and forcing the France international to offer an open apology.
It has not been disclosed how much the fine was imposed, but British media reported the fine imposed by West Ham was more than $300,000.
The Premier League club said “Kurt and the club are fully cooperating with the investigation, and the player voluntarily complied with the steps taken at an early stage of the investigation process, including by sending two of his family cats to the RSPCA for examination.”
Animal Lovers Organization Investigate Zouma’s Actions
The Institute for the Prevention of Violence Against Animals (RSPCA), on Wednesday (9/2), tweeted that it was “investigating the viral cat (torture) video, and both cats are now safely under their protection. We have been working on this issue since before this video went viral online and will follow the proper legal process and not discuss this further as it complies with the UK Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Act.”
West Ham in a statement released on Wednesday (9/2) also said that “Kurt Zouma is deeply sorry, and like everyone at the club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the urgency of action to be taken.”
The club said despite the RSPCA’s ongoing investigation “and pending further sanctions from the outcome of that investigation,” it had fined “the maximum possible amount” of two weeks’ wages.
The statement also added that, “Zouma accepts the fine imposed and has requested that the fine be donated to an animal welfare charity.”
Some Sponsors Stop Support
Hours after the video of Zouma chasing, slapping and throwing the cats went viral, leading sportswear manufacturer Adidas said it had completed its own investigation and decided to no longer “contract” Zouma.
West Ham also came under pressure from its sponsors. Vitality, on Wednesday (9/2), said it was suspending its sponsorship as the club’s official health partner, and would speak with West Ham “to understand what action they will take to address the situation.”
Zouma has become starter for West Ham as they beat Watford 1-0 in the Premier League on Tuesday (8/2) night, hours after the club strongly condemned the defender’s actions. [em/pp]