2020 golf venue votes to admit women members
Send a link to a friend
[March 20, 2017]
(Reuters) - The club scheduled
to hold the 2020 Tokyo Olympics golf events voted to admit women as
full members on Monday, scrapping an all-male policy that had been
heavily criticized and put its hosting rights in jeopardy.
The private Kasumigaseki Country Club took the decision to change
its bylaws at an extraordinary board meeting after being told last
month that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would find
another venue if the policy remained unaltered.
The Saitama prefecture venue is scheduled to host both men's and
women's tournaments in July and August 2020 but rules forbidding
women from both playing on Sundays or becoming full members had been
roundly condemned, leading to Monday's vote.
"We are pleased to learn that the Kasumigaseki Country Club voted
today... to amend the club's membership policy in keeping with the
spirit of the Olympic Charter," Tokyo Games chief Yoshiro Mori said
in a statement.
"On behalf of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, I'd like to
extend my gratitude to the members of the club for their
understanding and cooperation.
"I also would like to express my admiration for the club's endeavor
to come to an agreement in such a short period of time."
The club was closed due to a national holiday on Monday, meaning no
one was available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
IOC vice president John Coates had last month said that organizers
would seek an alternative venue if the club could not achieve gender
equality and Olympic chief Thomas Bach reiterated the governing
body's stance last week.
"Kasumigaseki Country Club is an outstanding venue
with excellent courses, and we are proud it will be hosting world's
top-tier golfers from all over the world for the Olympics Games,"
Mori added of the decision.
[to top of second column]
A club house of Kasumigaseki Country Club is pictured in Kawagoe,
Saitama Prefecture, Japan, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Oh Hyun
"I truly appreciate the numerous efforts that the club's senior
leaderships and all the club members have made so far to meet the
requirements for hosting Olympic competitions."
Several notable golf clubs have changed their policies to allow
female members in recent years.
In 2014, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews decided to
allow women to join following 260 years of exclusion, after Augusta
National, home of the U.S. Masters, had ended its men-only
membership two years earlier.
Last week, Muirfield voted to admit women members, scrapping a
policy that led to the historic Scottish links course being stripped
of its eligibility to host the British Open.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten