TOKYO The club scheduled to host golf at the 2020 Tokyo Games appears to be moving towards a policy of accepting women as full members and the issue will likely be resolved by June, International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates said.
The private Kasumigaseki Country Club, which is set to host the men's and women's tournaments in the summer of 2020, has sparked outrage for barring women from playing on Sundays and from full membership.
Coates told Reuters in an interview last month that Tokyo organisers must find another venue if the club did not change its policy, but said on Thursday that "great progress" had been made in just the past few days.
"My understanding is as recent as this week there have been more discussions with the club, that it's heading in the right direction for them to have a non-discriminatory membership," Coates said.
"It would appear that we should be able to have this resolved by the end of June," he told a news conference after a regular project review between the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.
The country club has been under fire since Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in January called on it to give equal rights to women, and a Japanese nonprofit group demanded that the Olympic golf venue be moved elsewhere.
It has also drawn international attention, with New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko saying on Wednesday that she hoped the club would change its policy.
Organisers have not set a deadline for the club to make a decision on its policy but "at some point there has to be a cut-off," Coates said.
"It's possible to go elsewhere but I think this is going to work out," he said. "We will only go to a club that has non-discrimination."
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Jon Boyle)