Special Olympics Official General Rules

The General Rules provide the rules and guidelines for all our activities and bind us to our purpose, mission and goals.

CURRENT GENERAL RULES – PDF DOWNLOAD

ARTICLES

  • Article 1: The Mission Statement, Goal and Founding Principles of Special Olympics are outlined in this Article.
  • Article 2: Provides that every person with an intellectual disability who is at least eight years of age is eligible to participate in Special Olympics, and that there is no maximum age limit for participation, and it highlights the Young Athletes Program.
  • Article 3: Covers the objectives of Special Olympics training and competition, which promote Special Olympics as an athlete-centered Movement.
  • Article 4: Describes SOI’s rights and responsibilities to ensure that all activities offered to persons with intellectual disabilities under the name of Special Olympics are organized, financed and conducted in accordance with international standards and in a manner that preserves the quality and reputation of Special Olympics and serves the best interests of persons with intellectual disabilities worldwide.
  • Article 5: Outlines the requirements of Accredited Programs as these relate to structures and governance. These include a requirement for each Accredited Program to have a Board of Directors or Program Committee, comprised of at least one sports expert, one expert in the field of intellectual disabilities, one Special Olympics athlete trained on Board/Program Committee participation, and at least one close family relation of a Special Olympics athlete.
  • Article 6: Describes SOI’s authority to grant Accreditation, which is a way of assuring that core quality and growth requirements of the Special Olympics mission, and also minimum management and financial standards, are met by Accredited Programs.
  • Article 7: Establishes that each Accredited Program is solely responsible for raising the funds needed to pay for its own program and administrative operations, and limits a Program’s fundraising rights to within its own jurisdiction.
  • Article 8: Outlines the standards for financial management that GOCs and Accredited Programs must comply with. It describes the planning, budgeting and accounting requirements of Accredited Programs.
  • Article 9: Provides guidance on how to interpret the General Rules and allows for substituting alternate terms for "intellectual disability" to conform with local government language.
  • Article 10: Article 10 provides guidance on the meanings and definitions of key words and phrases in the General Rules.

US Programs Only

  • Supplement to Special Olympics General Rules: This supplement to the Special Olympics Official General Rules contains those General Rules specific to the United States Accredited Programs. The supplement should be read together with the General Rules.