Adidas cuts ties with Kurt Zouma as RSPCA takes away cats over shock video

"Zouma is not the role model that we want," said one West Ham supporter who questioned his future at the club.

Adidas cut ties with Kurt Zouma just hours after the RSPCA said it had taken away the player's cats when a shock video emerged of him kicking one of his pets.

Adidas was the defender’s official personal kit supplier but said all commercial ties had been cut with the West Ham player.

A statement read: "We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete."

The RSPCA said the cats were safe and in their care, adding: "We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we need to follow the proper legal process."

The player has also been slapped with the maximum fine possible by West Ham, two weeks' wages, reported to be in the region of £250,000 which will be donated to animal welfare charities.

"Kurt is extremely remorseful and, like everyone at the club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the need for action to be taken," West Ham said.

"Separate to the RSPCA's investigation and pending further sanction once the outcome of that process is determined, West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been fined the maximum amount possible following his actions in the video that circulated," the club's statement added.

West Ham United's Kurt Zouma warms up ahead of the Premier League match at the London Stadium

In a blow to the club Vitality announced it was suspending sponsorship as West Ham’s official wellness partner.

"We were very distressed by the video we have seen of Kurt Zouma.

"At Vitality, we condemn animal cruelty and violence of any kind,” Vitality, a provider of health insurance, life insurance, car insurance and investments, said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Heineken UK, West Ham’s beer and cider partner added: "We have a long-standing relationship with West Ham United, and like them, we were appalled at the contents of the video.

"Any form of cruelty towards animals is totally unacceptable, and we welcome the actions West Ham are taking."

Experience Kissimmee, West Ham’s official destination partner, has said it "will be evaluating our relationship and sponsorship with the club" after Zouma was selected for Tuesday’s match.

The club's official website hosting partner SiteGround said: "We do not condone cruelty towards animals in any way.

"We have already spoken to the West Ham United team to express our concern, and trust that they will be dealing with the matter internally."

And sports equipment manufacturer Umbro said it partnered with West Ham on a club level and "does not represent individual players". It also condemned the actions of the Zouma.

The action comes after thousands signed a petition calling for the footballer to be prosecuted.

A petition on, started by Anti Animal Abuse, reads: "In the UK we have laws against the abuse of animals, laws which should be applicable to everyone rich or poor, famous or not!

"We ask that the Metropolitan Police and RSPCA carry out an urgent investigation and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous act."

Among those who signed it is singer and animal lover Will Young who told ITV News he was appalled the petition was needed.

"I totally stand by all the people who say that footballer should not be playing and in my opinion he should certainly not be having those cats," Will Young said.

National pet charity Blue Cross described the incident as "truly horrifying" and called for Zouma to face prosecution.

While West Ham said they "unreservedly condemn" the actions of Zouma the player was selected by boss David Moyes in the starting line-up for Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Watford.

After the Frenchman played in the match against Watford – during which he was subject to boos and chants from the crowd – Moyes said: "The club have taken all the action they can do at the moment behind the scenes. My job is to pick the best team and Kurt was part of that."

Speaking to ITV News, conservationist Chris Packham said:

"He [Moyes] said he wanted to put the best players on the field and I think alot of people will argue he wasn't the best player to have on the field.

"This is not just about football this is about society. These people are role models for young generations and we need to send signals that this type of behaviour is not acceptable."

In the full statement the RSPCA said: "The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.

"They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.

"We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation. 

"We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time."

Minister for UK Animal Welfare Zac Goldsmith added: "Like most people, I am sickened by the video.

"No animal should be subjected to this sort of abuse and I hope that robust action is taken immediately."