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Tokyo 2020

Olympic golf venue holding out on female membership policy

The Kasumigaseki Country Club, which will host the men's and women's tournaments in 2020, has failed to reach a decision in "nuisance" equality drive.

Olympic golf venue holding out on female membership policy
Christian PetersenAFP

The Kasumigaseki Country Club, the venue selected to host the men’s and women’s golf tournaments at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, failed to reach a decision about ending a ban on women as full members on Tuesday, with the head of its board of directors describing the situation as "a nuisance."

The board meeting followed calls to shift the tournament from the private club in Saitama prefecture because of the rule, which allows women to play Monday through Saturday but bars them from becoming full members and from playing on Sundays.

The Tokyo Olympic organising committee sent a letter to the club last week appealing for it to reconsider the policy.

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Divided opinion

Opinions at the meeting were divided, public broadcaster NHK said, with some of the members saying barring women from full membership was out of step with the times while others said the opinions of all club members should be considered.

Board chairman Kiichi Kimura later told reporters that the club was basically in the position of loaning out the venue for the Olympics.

"That this situation has developed is a nuisance for us, it's really perplexing," he said.

Japanese media has said a unanimous vote of the 15-member board is required to change the rule.

Both men's and women's tournaments will be held at the club in 2020, following the return of the sport to the Summer Games at last year's Rio Olympics.

Two of the most famous golf clubs in the world 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 after 260 years of exclusion, and Augusta National, home of the US Masters, ended its men-only membership in 2012.


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