The members of the Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland have voted to maintain their policy of not allowing female golfers to become members of the club. Women may use the course as guests, but may not apply for membership.
The vote has resulted in the Royal and Ancient, the body that administers Golf in the United Kingdom, removing Muirfield from the list of courses that can host the Open Championship and Ryder Cup when it is held in Britain.
The move has been widely condemned across the entire sporting canon in the UK. Prime Minister "Call Me Dave" Cameron and The leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the vote.
It makes me wonder how long the ban might hold up once the financial implications of the vote start to impact upon the club. For a start, they will lose millions of pounds from lost revenue for major championships and the sponsorship, television and attendance money that comes with them.
And then there is the National Lottery. Perhaps they haven't thought of that one yet.
In the mid 1990's, the Marylebone Cricket Club applied for a large Lottery grant (in the tens of millions of pounds. They needed a lot of money) which they desperately needed to make up shortfalls in their plans to upgrade Lords' cricket ground, and others, in time for the 1999 World Cup. The Chairperson of the Lottery Allocations Committee at that time was one Rachel Heyhoe-Flint, a former England woman cricketer and hockey player. She had been refused membership of the MCC despite having captained the England women's cricket team over many seasons.
She invoked a clause in the allocations rules that says organisations applying for lottery grants must be fully inclusive. The MCC had previously held a vote similar to the one carried out by Muirfield and that too found in favour of continuing the No Women ban.
The lottery grant was refused.
The MCC appealed and used its considerable influence within the British Establishment to overturn the ruling but the courts upheld the decision of the Lottery Allocations Committee.
Lords' really....... REALLY needed that money. The World Cup was approaching and Lords' looked like a Roman ruin.
An emergency meeting of the MCC Board overturned the vote and women were allowed to become members. The first application from a woman that they approved was that of Rachel Heyhoe-Flint. The day she walked into the Long Room as a member was a sweet victory for women indeed.
The redoubtable Ms Heyhoe-Flint is no longer on the Allocations Committee, but a precedent has been set and all businesses, clubs, organisations and charities applying for Lottery Grants are made well aware that gender inclusiveness is a prerequisite for the award of a grant.
There may come a day when Muirfield really..... REALLY need Lottery money. Let's see how their vote holds up then.