The Olympic Charter is, effectively, the constitution of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Movement. It sets out, basically in an outline form, the principles, rules, and bye-laws that govern the workings of both the IOC and the Olympic Movement, and stipulates the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Charter was first adopted in 1908, based on a handwritten set of rules created by Pierre de Coubertin shortly after the formation of the IOC. The 1908 list of rules was not called the Olympic Charter but rather “Comité International Olympique: Annuaire” (in French only). Since that time, the International Olympic Committee’s governing rules have been published under several different names, including Olympic Rules, Protocol, Olympic Statutes, and Rules, being first published officially as the Olympic Charter only in 1978.
Though the Olympic Charter is often held to be inviolate, it is, in fact, fairly easily modified and has been changed many times since its inception. Modifications, or amendments, can be made to the Charter according to Rule 18 governing the Sessions, which addresses it, although now rather obliquely, in several sections.
The Olympic Charter underwent major changes at the end of 1999, based on recommendations made by the IOC 2000 Commission in response to the Olympic Bribery Scandal. The changes were sweeping and made significant structural changes to the Olympic Movement.