A sport governing body comes in several forms.

  • International federations - these take care of one sport (or a group of sports, such as skiing). They create a common set of rules and organise international competitions. Promotion of the sport is also a task of an international federation.
  • National federation - these have the same objectives as an international federation, but then within the scope of one country, or even part of a country.
  • Multi-sport event organisers - these take care of the organisation of a certain event which contains more than one sport. The most important example is the IOC, organiser of the Olympic Games.
  • General sports organisations - these take care of sports related topics, usually for a certain group, such as Catholic or Jewish sport, military or university sport.
  • Professional leagues
  • Trusts - these are organizations or groups that have control over money that will be used to help someone else, such as the Youth Sport Trust.

The first international federations were formed at the end of the 19th century.

(more on history)

See also the list of sport governing bodies for more complete list of specific governing bodies.