For today’s international football news, West Ham United centre-back Kurt Zouma faces charges forwarded by the 30 Million Friends Foundation for abusing his cat. Article 113-6 of the French Penal Code supports the complaint and has a possible penalty of up to four years in prison. The legal charges came in light of a video circulating on the internet starring the French Premier League player as he threw and kicked his family’s pet cat in his home in Essex, leading to a widespread backlash among fans and coverage from international news outlets.
Kurt Zouma’s Animal Abuse Video
The disturbing video was first uploaded on Snapchat by Zouma’s brother and has been re-uploaded and repeatedly shared on other social media platforms. In the video, Zouma is seen picking the cat up from the floor and then kicking it. He then proceeded to throw shoes at the cat as he chased it around the inside of his house.
Zouma has since then apologised for the video, stating that the two cats their family own are “perfectly fine and healthy” and that the abuse was an isolated incident. An investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is being conducted. In light of this, the same institution has taken custody of the two cats from the family.
West Ham United has emphasised their cooperation with RSPCA and has penalised Zouma with a $338,000 fine. The funds have been promised to animal welfare charities as remuneration for the player’s misdeeds.
Adidas dropped the 27-year old from a contract worth £100,000 annually. West Ham also took a blow after the club’s sponsor, Vitality, suspended their sponsorship worth of £500,000 annually. Experience Kissimmee and Yield App may follow suit, with Heineken and Umbro releasing statements condemning the act exhibited by Zouma.
In addition to these financial blowbacks, Zouma also faces possible legal consequences that could amount to four years in prison, in addition to a £50,000 fine. The penalty could be augmented, considering that aggravating circumstances of the crime include committing the act in the presence of other people and if the abused animal is under the abuser’s care.
French politicians have condemned the act and have called for his expulsion from the French National team. As of now, there have been no announcements on behalf of West Ham United to suspend or expel Zouma. Scottish manager David Moyes has even opted to bring Zouma in the recent Watford game, leading to backlash from the audience as well as criticism from Gary Lineker, who dubbed the choice to bring Zouma in the field as ‘tone deaf.’