HISTORY OF AICO
AICO was formally established on 22 May 2014 at a meeting of representatives of 19 Olympic collectors clubs from 17 nations, held in the Olympic Museum, Lausanne.
However, the origins of AICO go back to 1984 when, at the request of, and with the support of the IOC, the Federation Internationale de Philatelie Olympique (FIPO) was established, and a few years later, when the IOC established the Federation Internationale de Memorabilia Olympique (FIMO) and the Federation Internationale de Numismatique Olympique (FINO). The IOC established those organizations, and what was very important for many years IOC staff directly controlled and administered them, and the IOC President of the day was the President of each organization. The IOC also established the IOC Commission on Philately, Numismatics and Memorabilia, to support the development of policies on Olympic collecting, and the activities of the three organizations. In the same year, the IOC also encouraged NOCs to do likewise with local collecting clubs and as a result a number of Olympic collecting clubs today are closely integrated with their NOC.
AICO is, in effect, a continuation of those IOC-established and administered organizations, but in a different form to reflect changed circumstances. Those changed circumstances were:
- A recognition by the IOC in 2009 that with developments in corporate governance it was no longer appropriate for the IOC to directly control the activities of collectors organizations. The former arrangements exposed the IOC to risk in that it had legal responsibility but not effective day to day control of clubs which were members of FIPO/FINO/FIMO, while at the same time members of clubs were denied any input into policy and administration of the organizations which purported to represent them.
- The effective demise of FIMO and FINO in the 1990’s and thus the lack of leadership and promotion of collecting in these key areas.
- The establishment of clubs which covered all aspects of Olympic collecting rather than being restricted to one specific field e.g. philately.
- Requests from many clubs affiliated to FIPO to clarify the role and responsibility of FIPO.
In light of those circumstances the IOC decided in 2010 that FIPO should cease to exist (FIMO and FINO having already ceased to operate). However, rather than leave a vacuum in terms of a formal organization to represent Olympic collectors, the IOC established an international Working Group of senior officials of a number of Olympic collecting clubs to provide IOC with advice on whether, and in what form, there should be an international organization to represent Olympic collectors i.e, whether and in what form, FIPO should be replaced.
The Working Group was comprised initially of clubs that had been members of FIPO. The Working Group’s First Report recommended unanimously that there should be a new international organization and, significantly, that it should cover all fields of Olympic collecting, not only philately. Hence the title proposed – ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DES COLLECTIONNEURS OLYMPIQUE, AICO. The Report said that collectors should be responsible for their own organization but that a close, documented, relationship with the IOC was critical to the success of the proposed new organization. A draft constitution was prepared and the Report presented to the IOC.
The IOC sent a copy of the Report to all Olympic collecting clubs with which it had formal relations and sought their comments – these were the current members of FIPO and small number of clubs covering memorabilia and numismatics. All supported the major recommendations of the Report but made a number of comments/suggestions on specific clauses. These responses were taken into account by the Working Group which presented a Final Report to the IOC. The IOC then sent the Final Report to the clubs and asked the clubs if they would join such an organization, if established. All 19 clubs replied in the affirmative.
The Final Report was then considered by the IOC Commission on Philately, Numismatics and Memorabilia, which endorsed it and recommended the IOC support the creation of AICO. The draft constitution of AICO was then examined by the IOC Legal Department to ensure that it was consistent with the Olympic Charter and with Swiss law, and after minor modification, endorsed subject to AICO signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the IOC which would spell out the nature of the relationship between AICO and the IOC. This was consistent with the Working Group’s recommendation that the vital relationship with the IOC be documented.
The IOC then invited representatives of the 19 Olympic collectors clubs that had been involved in the process to attend a meeting in Lausanne to vote on the formal creation of AICO, to elect their first Executive Board and to sign the MOU with the IOC. All the administration and costs of this exercise were born by the IOC.
As its first priority, the Executive Board of AICO applied to the IOC seeking the status of a “Recognized Organization” from the IOC. This status was conferred on 8 December 2015.