Explaining what AIMS recognition means, and the dynamic between GAISF/AIMS

[WOCRF] Justifying our position

Purposes of the article

This article will provide context, so that the members within World Obstacle National Federations better understand the process of international sports-recognition. We will address the following assertions and claims:

1. That AIMS by itself is the former GAISF, and what AIMS actually is.
2. That AIMS membership equals to the recognition as a World Sports Governing Body.

STATEMENT: AIMS by itself is the former GAISF, and being recognized by AIMS means that you are recognized as a World Governing Body of one or more Sports:


First, let’s explore what GAISF is.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) was an umbrella organization for both Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations, as well as organizers of international sporting events. Here are the key details:

  1. GAISF Overview:
    • Formation: GAISF was established in 1967.
    • Purpose: It served as a coordinating body for various sports federations and associations.
    • Membership: GAISF had 95 full members(governing specific sports worldwide), 20 associate members (organizations closely related to international sports federations), and a third category, dedicated to organizations applying to be recognized, called OBSERVER STATUS. Just for the sake of clarity: applying to be recognized, does not equal to being recognized.
  2. What Observer status actually means:
    • Purpose: Observer status is granted to small or developing International Federations (IFs) as an opportunity to connect with and learn from more experienced organizations.
    • Application Process:
      • An applicant interested in GAISF membership can request observer status.
      • The applicant submits a complete application file, including payment of the membership application fee.
      • The GAISF Membership Commission evaluates the file, assesses any rivalry issues with existing GAISF members, and reports its findings to the GAISF Council.
      • The GAISF Council decides, at its sole discretion, whether to grant observer status (which can also be revoked).
    • Duration: Observer status lasts for 2 years(renewable once for another 2 years)
    • Rights and Responsibilities:
      • Observers have the right to participate in the annual IF Forum and attend the General Assembly, NOTHING MORE.
      • They must respect GAISF and its members, prevent or resolve conflicts, and work toward fulfilling GAISF membership criteria (including governance, rules, policies, and global representation).

In conclusion, while observer status provides a pathway for small or developing IFs, it does not automatically confer status as world governing body, which involves meeting rigorous criteria set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


Dissolution and Successor Organizations:

    • In November 2022, GAISF members voted to dissolve the organization.
    • Many of GAISF’s activities were taken over by a restructured SportAccord, NOT AIMS.
    • The revised governance structure of SportAccord now includes:
      • Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF)
      • Alliance of Independent Recognized Members of Sport (AIMS)
      • Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF)
      • Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF).

In summary, while GAISF no longer exists, its responsibilities have been distributed among various entities, mainly SportAccord, but also ARISF, AIMS, ASOIF, and AIOWF. AIMS IS ONLY ONE OF THE ENTITIES THAT IS WITHIN THE CONFIGURATION OF SPORTACCORD. Now, let’s look at what AIMS is, and what it can and cannot recognize.



Let’s explore what AIMS, the Alliance of [INDEPENDENT] Recognized Members of Sport is ,and clarify its role in the context of international sports federations:

  1. AIMS Overview:
    • Formation: AIMS was established as an alliance of independent sports organizations.
    • Purpose: It serves as a platform for sports federations that are not part of the Olympic program but seek recognition and collaboration.
    • Membership: AIMS includes various sports bodies representing diverse disciplines.
    • Recognition: While AIMS itself is not an official world governing body, it provides a pathway for its member federations to gain visibility and legitimacy.
  2. What AIMS Is:
    • Recognition Platform: AIMS acts as a bridge between non-Olympic sports and the broader sporting community.
    • Advocacy: It advocates for the interests of its member federations, promoting their sports globally.
    • Networking: AIMS facilitates networking, knowledge sharing, and cooperation among its members.
    • Promotion: It works to raise awareness about non-Olympic sports and their cultural significance.
  3. What AIMS Is Not:
    • World Governing Body: AIMS is not a world governing body like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or individual International Sports Federations (IFs).
    • Direct Recognition: AIMS recognition does not automatically grant an organization the status of an official international federation.
    • Olympic Status: While AIMS collaborates with the Olympic movement, it does not confer Olympic recognition.
    • Binding Authority: Decisions made by AIMS do not have the same binding authority as those of recognized IFs.
  4. Member Federations:
    • AIMS member federations represent various sports, including traditional games, martial arts, and cultural disciplines.
    • These federations benefit from AIMS networking opportunities, joint events, and exposure.
  5. Path to Recognition:
    • AIMS recognition provides visibility and credibility, but it is a stepping stone.
    • Member federations must continue their efforts to gain recognition from other bodies, such as the IOC or relevant IFs.

In summary, AIMS serves as a valuable platform for non-Olympic sports, but its recognition alone does not equate to full international federation status. Organizations recognized by AIMS should continue their journey toward broader recognition within the global sports community. This is something that World Obstacle attempted, but never actually succeeded. 

Being recognized by AIMS (or even SportAccord) equals the recognition as a World Sports Governing Body

  1. Is AIMS a valid organization?
    • AIMS is a valid International Organization, that acts as a platform that provides means to promote the sport globally.
  2. AIMS’ Role:
    • AIMS serves as an alliance for independent sports organizations, including those not part of the Olympic program.
    • AIMS recognition does not automatically grant world governing body status.
  3. Clarifying the differences between being recognized by AIMS as a World Organization that promotes a sport and actually being a World Governing Body:
    • GAISF vs. World Governing Body:
      • Recognition by GAISF (now SportAccord) or by AIMS, is distinct from being recognized as an official world governing body.
      • GAISF and AIMS provide visibility and networking opportunities but do not confer ultimate authority.
    • World Governing Body Criteria:
      • Outline the stringent criteria set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for world governing bodies.
      • Mention that recognition involves adherence to governance standards, global representation, and technical expertise.

The aspect of Multiple Recognized Bodies for the same Sport:

Multiple recognized bodies coexist for the same sport (e.g., boxing, karate, or chess). Different organizations can serve different purposes within the same sport . Each organization may focus on specific aspects (e.g. One on promotion, the other on actual recognition).


While AIMS recognition is commendable, it does not mean that a organization is validated and recognized as a World Governing Body for a Sport. The journey toward world governing body status involves meeting a lot more rigorous standards.

This article is constructed on the following facts and references:


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