Heiko Vogel was ordered to coach a women's team after 'unsporting behaviour' towards a referee. TF-Images/Getty Images

Borussia Monchengladbach’s under-23 coach Heiko Vogel was ordered to train the women’s team as punishment for “unsporting behaviour” towards a referee during a match.

Vogel, a former Champions League coach at Swiss club FC Basel, was banned from the dugout for two matches, along with his assistants Vanessa Arlt and Nadine Westerhoff, for “unsporting” behaviour towards referee Marcel Benkhoff during a 2-1 win over Bergisch Gladbach in the regional fourth division in late January.

The 44-year-old was also fined €1,500 and ordered to coach a women’s or girls’ team for six sessions, with the FA allowing Vogel until June 30 to fulfil that part of the verdict.

The decision was met with criticism with Nicole Selmer of the Frauen im Fussball (Women in football) network telling ESPN that it was “sending a fatal message.”

“It shows that at whatever level women and girls play football they are not taken as serious as men and boys,” Selmer said.

“This punishment for the Gladbach coach puts coaching a women’s team on a level with social work. 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.

“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.”

The WDFV did not comment on the order to coach a women’s team nor on the criticism. They said that it was still a pending litigation and the order under scrutiny.

Vogel, meanwhile, has sat out his two-match ban and will return to the Gladbach U23 dugout in their match against Rot-Weiss Essen in Germany’s fourth tier at the weekend.