Posted on February 10, 2022

Kurt Zouma Named in West Ham Team as Essex Police Investigate Cat-Kicking Video

PA Media, February 8, 2022

Kurt Zouma was named in West Ham’s starting line-up against Watford despite his cat-kicking shame “because he is one of our better players”, according to Hammers boss David Moyes.

The French defender was condemned by his club, the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups after a video emerged of him dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat.

Zouma has apologised for his actions while Essex Police have confirmed they are liaising with the RSPCA as part of their “urgent enquiries”.

Yet despite the widespread revulsion towards the video, boss Moyes has controversially stuck with the 27-year-old.

When asked before kick-off if the video had had any influence on his decision to play Zouma against Watford, the Scot told BT Sport: “No, because he is one of our better players. But it is certainly ongoing and the club are dealing with it, so that is a separate matter.”

In the video, Zouma is seen kicking and slapping the cat, while laughter can be heard in the background. The France international then chases the animal before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

Former West Ham player Joe Cole, appearing as a BT Sport pundit, said: “I think it’s a miscalculation by the club – he could have sat this one out.

“But he’s here, he’s starting. It’s an unusual disciplinary matter, I don’t remember seeing animal cruelty within football.”

A statement from Essex Police read: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media relating to an incident involving a cat, which members of our communities may find distressing.


After the clip emerged, West Ham criticised Zouma’s actions.


Zouma, who joined the Hammers from Chelsea in August 2021, has also released a statement, apologising for his actions and expressing his regret.


Zouma’s brother, Dagenham & Redbridge defender Yoan, has been condemned by his club for filming the video and for “his reactions to the events shown”.


Yoan Zouma said he “deeply regretted” his actions in his own statement on the club’s official website.


Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Maheta Molango, speaking about the matter at a parliamentary select committee hearing on Tuesday, said: “It is not for us to discipline him – it is for the employer to discipline – but our role is to tell the player this type of behaviour is not acceptable.