Opinion: Women's sport takes step backward when viewed as a punishment

Women's Football

A Borussia Monchengladbach men’s coach has been ordered to lead a series of women’s training sessions as punishment for his recent outburst during a match. 

Heiko Vogel, head coach of the club’s U23s team, was recently given a two-match ban and a €1,500 (£1,200) fine for his “unsporting” behaviour towards a match official. The 44-year-old must also lead six women’s or girls’ training sessions as part of his punishment. The German FA has given Vogel until June 30th to hold up that particular part of the arrangement.

This decision has been met with serious backlash, with many speaking out on such a damaging view of the women’s sport. Nicole Selmer of the Frauen im Fussball network has slammed the FA for “sending a fatal message” amid the rapid growth of women’s football as a whole.

“It shows that at whatever level women and girls play football, they are not taken as serious as men and boys,” she told ESPN. Selmer went on to say that by viewing women’s coaching as a punishment, it puts the sport on par with social work.

A huge step back for women’s sport

Day after day, female athletes push to not only be the best they can be as a performer, but to thrust their sport into the limelight where it deserves to be. For women’s football, the growth is impossible to ignore. The Women’s Super League and National Women’s Super League are spearheading the progression of the sport as household names fight for pay parity and equal opportunities both on and off the pitch.

Viewing women’s football as a chore or something negative used to teach someone a lesson is hugely detrimental to the work these clubs are putting in on a daily basis. 

Not only does it suggest women’s football is not to be taken seriously, but for the women or girls who discover their interim coach is essentially there as a charity case, self belief will plummet. 

“Women’s football is a sport, and those who participate in it are as professional as their male counterparts,” Selmer said.

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