Borussia Monchengladbach’s under-23 coach Heiko Vogel was ordered to train the women’s team for six sessions as part of a „punishment“ for his „unsporting behavior“ during a match earlier this year, according to a report from ESPN. The unsporting behavior came against Marcel Benkhoff and his assistants Vanessa Arlt and Nadine Westerhoff in a January match versus Bergisch Gladbach.
Vogel was given until June 30 to coach the sessions. He was also banned from the dugout for two matches and fined €1,500 for the unsporting behavior incident, the West German FA (WDFV) confirmed to ESPN
As expected, many have reacted strongly to the news, noting that the punishment of training a girls‘ or women’s team further perpetuates sexism and the divide between genders in sports.
Nicole Selmer of the Frauen im Fussball (Women in Football) network told ESPN that it „shows that at whatever level women and girls play football, they are not taken as serious as men and boys.“
„This punishment for the Gladbach coach puts coaching a women’s team on a level with social work,“ Selmer said. „But it’s not like that. Women’s football is a sport, and those who participate in it are as professional as their male counterparts.“
Selmer continued, saying punishing someone like this sends a very clear, „fatal“ message towards women and girls who play soccer.
„If you strip away everything and give it to them they have good intentions, it is still sending a fatal message, as coaching a women’s or girls‘ team is part of a punishment for a misconduct,“ she said.
Vogel, an-ex Champions League coach at FC Basel, is scheduled to return to his team this weekend after sitting out for the allotted two-match ban.