A national sporting federation (NF), also known as a National Governing Body (NGB), is a sports governing body that has regulatory and sanctioning functions within their country. This includes disciplinary action for rule infractions and deciding on which events are sanctioned. An official NF is recognized by the International Federation (IF) to operate in their country. There is only one official IF for any given sport and only one official NF in each country, as recognized by the IF.
Types of Sports Governing Bodies
Every sport that is officially recognized has a governing body, called an international federation (IF), that defines the way that the sport operates. The IF creates a common set of rules, rankings and procedures (such as safety and anti-doping rules) and organizes international competitions. Promotion of the sport is also a function of international federations. National federations have the same objectives as an international federation, but within the scope of one country. They support local clubs, competitions and associations and are generally responsible for national teams. National Olympic Committees (NOC) and National Paralympic Committees are both a type of NF, as they are responsible for a country’s participation in the Olympic Games and in the Paralympic Games respectively.
Setting Up Your NF
The requirements for setting up a NF varies by country, depending on governmental regulations. In general, the federation needs to be:
- a not for profit organization
- registered with the Ministry for Sport (or equivalent agency)
- not pursue any objectives for it’s own gains
- recognized by the international federation (in this case, the iF3)
- recognized by your NOC
- structured in line with the iF3’s constitution.
This generally includes having:
- Executive board
- Relevant committees
- Anti-doping policies
- Code of ethics
Basic Setup Steps
Setting up a national federation can be simple to start (steps 1-3 below), but there are additional requirements to be officially recognized. Official recognition can take a year or more depending on your countries regulations and how organized you are.
- Check to see if an existing association, federation or union exists in your country.
- Decide on a name, generally describing the sport and that it is a federation, union or similar, for example “German Functional Fitness Association.”
- Create a website and social media platforms containing basic information.
- File a nonprofit company or organization with your federation name. This could be a sports association, corporation or other entity depending on the requirements of your government.
- Put your executive board and committee chairmen in place.
- Build the governance documents: bylaws, rules, etc. Make sure they meet the requirements of your NOC, the IFFF, and your national government.
- Apply for national recognition from your government.
- Apply for recognition from your NOC. This can be done earlier in the process and may be granted with the provision that you meet the structural, legal and governance requirements necessary to operate as a national federation.
- The IFFF will recognize your organization contingent on meeting all necessary requirements.
Rights and obligations for a recognized National Federation of the iF3
Members have the following rights:
- To submit Resolutions for inclusion in the agenda of the Executive Board.
- To propose candidates for the Executive Board and Committees of iF3.
- To enter their athletes in any official competition of iF3, respecting the iF3 rules.
- To take part in and benefit from iF3’s assistance, development and educational programs organized directly or through the NFs; and
- To exercise all other rights arising from the iF3 Rules, and other rules decisions of iF3.
Members have the following obligations:
- Member NFs must maintain full control and governance of Functional Fitness in their country.
- The regulations of the iF3 shall be incorporated in the corresponding regulations of the NF.
- NFs must manage their internal affairs with total independence and ensure that no third party interferes in their operations. They must remain autonomous and resist all political, religious and financial pressure that may infringe their commitment to abide by the Rules of the iF3. Any external form of interference or attempt to interfere must be reported to the iF3.
- The rules and regulations of the federations shall not run counter to the rules and regulations of the iF3. In case of divergence, only the rules and regulations of the iF3 shall apply. The rules and the regulations of the federations must contain an express clause that in case of divergence with the rules and regulations of the iF3, only the latter shall apply.
- The rules and regulations of the federations must make provision for an election or intern appointment system that ensures a complete independence of the national federation vis-à-vis third parties. In particular, the federations shall not allow governments and other public authorities to appoint members of the governing bodies of a federation.
- Remain in good standing (including in good financial standing).
- To comply with all applicable iF3 rules and decisions of the Executive Board
- To insert in their Rules such provisions as may be required by the iF3 regulations or other iF3 rules.
- Member National Federations to pay the annual fee.
- To include the iF3 Logo and the words “Member of iF3” in their letterhead.
- All Members shall be required to submit an annual report within the first three months of each year, which shall include the following information:
- The mail address, email address, telephone, and fax, etc.
- A list of the Officers of the Federation.
- Annual statistics about active membership of the Member (clubs, athletes, coaches, officials, etc.)
- Major Championships and events to be held during the coming year, including date and location.
- A copy of the most recent financial statements.
- Each NF shall incorporate in its Constitution a provision to the effect that all disputes between that NF and an athlete and iF3 shall be submitted to arbitration before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for final and definitive resolution.
What Happens Next
Once you complete and return the iF3 National Federation Affiliation Request Form, you will be notified by e-mail if your request has been accepted and any potential changes you need to make before acceptance can occur. You will then be added to the iF3 database. Your website and additional information will be added as it becomes available. Please let us know if you have any questions. Our mission is to help you and to promote the sport of Functional Fitness and its disciplines throughout the world.
The International Functional Fitness Federation currently recognizes the following National Federations: