David Moyes admits Kurt Zouma’s cat-kicking incident is spoiling a ‘really good season’ for West Ham after insisting the French defender will NOT be dropped despite the controversy
- Kurt Zouma will continue to play for West Ham amid his cat-kicking scandal
- The 27-year-old defender was filmed hitting his Bengal cat out of his son’s arms
- Zouma has been fined but will not be suspended by West Ham for the incident
- Hammers boss David Moyes admits the scandal is ruining a good season
- Moyes claims Zouma is a ‘really good lad’ but his actions were ‘diabolical’
David Moyes has admitted the Kurt Zouma incident is overshadowing a ‘really good season’ for West Ham, after bullishly announcing the player will not be dropped for kicking his cat.
The French defender was filmed kicking and slapping his cat across a room by his brother, with Zouma now facing the prospect of RSPCA and criminal sanctions after having his two felines taken away from him.
Moyes and West Ham were condemned by parts of the football community for playing Zouma in Tuesday night’s win over Watford and the Scot confirmed the 27-year-old will continue to play for the Hammers, including at Leicester on Sunday.
And Moyes, whose side are fourth in the Premier League table going into this weekend’s action, admits this incident is spoiling what should be a feel-good period for the club.
‘I’ve never had one (an incident) like this,’ Moyes told a press conference on Friday. ‘As a football manager it shows you never know what you’re going to get. That’s part of being in this job.
David Moyes (left) admits the Kurt Zouma (right) cat incident is spoiling a good season for West Ham
Zouma, has been widely condemned after a video emerged of him allegedly hitting his cat
‘We’d rather we weren’t making news. West Ham have made really, really good news in the last two years.
‘We’ve got a really good side. I’m sad the focus has been taken away from what is, at the moment, a really good season.’
Zouma was fined two weeks wages, which totals £250,000, and the money has since been given to animal charities. West Ham released a statement condemning the player’s actions and said the player is co-operating with a RSPCA investigation.
The footballer be jailed for up to four years in his native France under beefed-up animal welfare laws introduced last year. If he is prosecuted and convicted in the UK, Zouma could be banned from owning animals and even jailed, although the latter option is unlikely.
West Ham have stood by Zouma and Moyes reiterated on Friday that he will not be dropped
More than 280,000 people have now signed an online petition on Change.org, started by Anti Animal Abuse, calling for Zouma to be prosecuted amid a growing public backlash.
National pet charity Blue Cross also described the incident as ‘truly horrifying’ and called for Zouma to face prosecution.
Moyes’ insistence on defending Zouma comes days after several West Ham sponsors withdrew their support for the club after they watched the Frenchman turn out for the Hammers on Tuesday night, after the video was leaked.
Vitality confirmed it was suspending sponsorship as West Ham’s official wellness partner and would be ‘further engaging with the club to understand what actions they will be taking to address the situation’.
Several West Ham sponsors have withdrawn their support for the club amid the scandal
Meanwhile, West Ham’s official destination partner Experience Kissimmee said it would evaluate its relationship with the club. On Wednesday afternoon, Adidas – the defender’s official personal kit supplier – confirmed ties had been cut with Zouma.
Moyes refused to be drawn into discussion on the sponsorship debacle but did confirm that Zouma is getting help from the club and the RSPCA, who seized his two cats earlier this week in fear of their safety.
The West Ham manager claimed this incident was ‘out of character’ for Zouma and the centre-back is a ‘really good lad’.
Moyes (right) claims Zouma (left) is a ‘really good lad’ but his actions were ‘diabolical’
‘We’re so disappointed, Moyes added. ‘It’s completely out of character from Kurt. We’ve never seen this. He’s a really good lad. We’re going to get him some help – he is getting help.
‘People who maybe have taken driving offences, most have to go to classes to learn the reasons and the damage. The RSPCA are going to provide us with some courses for Kurt about animals and how to treat them.
‘We’ll do everything we can to ensure Kurt is looking at it, understanding it and getting better. He’s really, really disappointed. Incredibly remorseful.
‘Like everybody else, sometimes in life you need forgiveness and he hopes he’s forgiven for a bad action. He’s treated the exact same way as any other player.’