Kurt Zouma: Sponsors drop West Ham and France international in fallout from cat-kicking video

Major sponsors have severed ties with Kurt Zouma and suspended their links with West Ham after the center back was pictured kicking and slapping one of his cats.

Essex Police are liaising with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) over the incident amid mounting pressure on the player and club from sponsors. The RSPCA have taken both animals into protective care while Zouma has been fined two weeks’ wages by West Ham, a figure understood to be in the region of $330,000. That is not the end of the impact for Zouma, who has been dropped by his boot providers Adidas.

“We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete,” the sportswear manufacturer said. Meanwhile West Ham sponsor Vitality have suspended their relationship with the club, who came under fire after manager David Moyes selected Zouma to face Watford on Tuesday.

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

Meanwhile Experience Kissimmee, a tourist organization in Florida, expressed their disappointment with the club’s decision to not employ any on field sanctions against Zouma.  “It was disheartening to learn that the player Kurt Zouma was part of the starting line in West Ham United’s game,” the company said in a tweet. “As we wait for further information from WHU, we will be evaluating our relationship and sponsorship with the club.”

Though Zouma has been fined the maximum sum within West Ham’s power, the decision to allow the Frenchman to start in their 1-0 win over Watford proved to be a contentious one, particularly when Moyes justified it as a footballing decision. “My job was to try and win for West Ham, and put out the best team to do that,” he said last night.

West Ham subsequently announced that they had fined the former Chelsea defender. The money will go to animal welfare charities. “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,” said a statement from the Hammers.

Zouma said yesterday: “I want to apologize for my actions. There are no excuses for my behavior, 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 behavior was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”

Kurt Zouma’s brother Yoan admitted he had been the one to record the video in an apology of his own. His club Dagenham and Redbridge, who play in the fifth tier of English football, condemned the players’ actions.

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