TOKYO (AP) — The club that is set to host the 2020 Olympic golf tournament must change its policy of excluding women as full members or the event will go elsewhere, IOC vice president John Coates said Thursday.
Coates, in Tokyo for a two-day coordination commission meeting, said some progress has been made on the issue but that the International Olympic Committee can only wait so long.
"At some point there has to be a cut off," Coates said. "Image wise, our position is clear. We will only go to a club that has nondiscrimination."
Kasumigaseki Country Club board members met last month to discuss the issue but so far have failed to make a decision about changing their policy.
The issue surfaced in mid-January when Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged Kasumigaseki to admit women as full members. Following that, the IOC inquired about the club's membership practice.
"It's possible to go elsewhere but I think this is going to work," Coates said. "It's heading in the right direction for them to have a nondiscriminatory membership procedure. It would appear that we would have this result by the end of June."
Founded in 1929 as a private club funded by about 300 wealthy men, Kasumigaseki is one of the oldest and most prestigious clubs in the country and has hosted more top level tournaments than any other Japanese course.
To join Kasumigaseki, an applicant needs to obtain a reference from a current member and pay 8 million yen ($70,800) to become a regular member first, then pay additional 4 million yen ($35,400) to be a full member.
The club does not allow women to become full members or play on Sundays.