The concept was born in GAISF
With the organization of the Olympic Games in 1896, the International Olympic Committee became de facto the governing body for international sport. When the international sports further expanded, the International Federations felt the need to establish a dialogue with the Olympic leaders and in 1967 founded the “General Assembly of International Sports Federations”, which in 1976 was transformed into the “General Association of International Sports Federations – GAISF, a formal organization with Statutes and headquarters in Monaco.
The Olympic Federations within GAISF used the GAISF meetings to coordinate their position regarding the International Olympic Committee. The non-Olympic federations also came together to discuss their specific sport issues. One of the ultimate objectives of almost all of these federations was to become an Olympic Federation and to obtain, through participation on the Olympic programme, publicity, fame and honour for their sport. When it became evident that the growth of the Olympic Games was limited, the sports from this NOF group understood that there were only minimal opportunities to be selected for participation on the Olympic Programme. The non-Olympic federations nonetheless wanted publicity and fame for their sports, so they decided to form their own showcase event which was named World Games. The IF’s formed a small steering group to pursue the idea and early in 1979 a number of officials actively explored options to realize the World Games and searched for a proper venue.
In May 1979 the steering group announced in a letter to the International Federations that they had found a venue in the United States of America: the City of Santa Clara.
At the meeting of the NOF in October 1979, the Steering Committee became the World Games Executive Council. The Committee consisted of a President, Secretary-General and three (3) Representatives of International Sports Federations. Following that meeting the IF’s were invited for a NOF meeting in Seoul, Korea on 19-22 May 1980, which became the inaugural meeting of the World Games Council.