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Kurt Zouma starts for West Ham against Leicester

The defender is the subject of an on-going joint investigation by the RSPCA and Essex Police after being filmed kicking and slapping his pet cat.

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Kurt Zouma was included in West Ham’s starting line-up for their Premier League game at Leicester (Tim Goode/PA)

Kurt Zouma was included in West Ham’s starting line-up for their Premier League game at Leicester (Tim Goode/PA)

Kurt Zouma was included in West Ham’s starting line-up for their Premier League game at Leicester (Tim Goode/PA)

West Ham defender Kurt Zouma was included in the starting line-up for the Premier League game at Leicester on Sunday.

Hammers boss David Moyes played Zouma in Tuesday’s home win against Watford, just over 24 hours after a video showing the player kicking and slapping his pet cat had circulated on social media, 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.

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.”

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