Kurt Zouma withdrawn from West Ham starting line-up after 'injury' following cat kicking video

13 February 2022, 17:08

West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has been withdrawn from West Ham's starting line-up
West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has been withdrawn from West Ham's starting line-up. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has been withdrawn from West Ham's starting line-up just moments before kick-off after he reportedly sustained an injury.

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West Ham announced the player had been withdrawn from their starting line-up before kick-off as he was feeling unwell, being replaced in the side by Issa Diop, with Darren Randolph added to the substitutes.

Zouma is understood to have complained of feeling sick and withdrew from the pre-match warm-up.

The West Ham defender was included in the starting line-up for the Premier League game at Leicester on Sunday despite growing controversy over a viral video showing the player kicking and slapping his pet cat.

Hammers boss David Moyes played Zouma in Tuesday's home win against Watford, just over 24 hours after the video emerged, sparking widespread condemnation.

The 27-year-old Frenchman, who has been fined two weeks' wages by West Ham, is the subject of an on-going joint investigation by the RSPCA and Essex Police.

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Whilst Zouma's brother Yoan, who is understood to have taken the video, has been suspended by his club, Dagenham, until the RSPCA has completed its probe.

The RSPCA has confiscated Zouma's two cats, while his personal kit supplier, Adidas, have cut ties with the player and Vitality has suspended its sponsorship as West Ham's official wellness partner. In a press conference on Friday, Moyes pleaded for forgiveness for Zouma.

Moyes said: "We all make mistakes in life. The boy is incredibly remorseful. He's incredibly upset at what he did - he did a terrible thing.

"But if it's the case that there's no forgiveness, then... We've all made mistakes and we'll all continue to make mistakes in life.

"We have to give people opportunities. He said he got it wrong, made a big mistake, so I'm hoping people will see it in a different way and see it with forgiveness."