BACKGROUND TO THE CREATION OF THE ARGENTINE SPORTS CONFEDERATION
The dissemination and organization of sport in our country began early and was due to the influence of immigrants, particularly those of British origin. During the English invasions of 1806 and 1807 they played Cricket matches, in the Retiro Park and Andrew C. Dick organized a race with therapeutic and sporting purposes.
After the May Revolution of 1810, the first government (Primera Junta) took numerous and important measures and one of them was to liberate the trade that by the “Ley of Monopolio” (Monopoly Law) could only be carried out with the Crown of Spain. This led to the entry into Buenos Aires of an increasing number of foreigners who came to buy and sell products and later to produce the so-called “fruits of the country”, derived from agriculture and livestock.
Among these foreigners, the groups of British citizens were more and more numerous. They settled in Buenos Aires and brought their language, their religion, their habits and customs, and kept close to their community. Naturally, among these customs was featured prominently the practice of sports, so their clubs were founded.
The first of them, still exists. The Buenos Aires Cricket Club, established on December 8, 1864. Naturally, all those institutions had their statutes, regulations, minute books and their names in the purest English.
At the end of the 19th century there were already numerous clubs, which in turn created Federations and Leagues, and many argentine clubs begun to apear.
The most important club of that time, was created on September 23, 1899 with the name of “Sociedad Hípica Argentina”, changed to “Sociedad Sportiva Argentina” in 1902, when Baron Antonio de Marchi assumed its presidency. Its headquarters occupied, by concession, the land where the “Campo Hípico Militar” (the military equestrian field) currently stands, with the two polo fields and the “Dirección de Remonta del Ejército Argentino). On these grounds, facilities were built for the practice of numerous sports, and thousands of spectators assisted.
All kinds of events were carried out. Riding events with European competitors, soccer with South American and British teams, horse races, bicycle races, motorcycle races, car racing, aviation shows with the participation of famous pilots in the world such as Cattaneo ( Italian) and Paillette (French) and even and ballooning with the participation of the brothers Jorge and Eduardo Newbery in their balloons.
In 1908, the Olimpics was held in London. Dr. Manuel Quintana received a letter from Count Brunetta D’Usseausx (Secretary of IOC), informing him that the British Olympic Association and the IOC wanted Argentina to participate in the Games. Dr. Quintana contacted Barón de Marchi (President of the “Sociedad Sportiva Argentina”) and the Committee was set up, chaired by Barón de Marchi, Federico Quintana as Secretary. Among the numerous members, Jorge Newbery, José F. Uriburu and Dr. F. Chevallier Boutell.
With the consent of the President, Dr. José Figueroa Alcorta, economic support was requested to Congress, and denied. For the same reasons (lack of financial support), the efforts initiated by the “Sociedad Sportiva Argentina” to participate in the Vº Stockholm 1912 Olympics also failed, despite the goodwill of the President, Dr. Roque Sáenz Peña.
World war from 1914 to 1918 meant the VI Olympics in 1916 could not be held.
These were the primitive efforts to organize the different sports in a single entity.
This is how we arrived at the VII Olympics in Antwerp in 1920. The genesis of our sports organization.
At the beginning of 1920, at the initiative of the Fencing Master Don Eugenio Pini, work started to found a Pro-Olympic Games Committee of Antwerp, whose authorities were: President: Dr. Marcelo T. de Alvear (at that time Argentine Minister in the delegation in Paris, since the embassy did not yet exist), Vice-President Dr. César Viale and Secretary Master Eugenio Pini.
On January 12, 1920, the Committee went to Congress requesting a subsidy for the expenses of the trip that they calculated would last four months. A burocratic technicality stopped the treatment of the request and was never treated again, and for that reason Argentina could not participate either (at least officially) in the Antwerp Games.
The “Antwerp Pro-Olympic Games Committee” could be in a way considered to be the predecessor of the current “Comité Olímpico Argentino” since it continued its work in favor of the organization of sport, and participated in Santiago de Chile, in what was called the IV Olimpíada Sudamericana de Atletismo (south american athletics olympics), when in reality it was the IV south american athletics Championship. In addition, shortly after it was created, it drops the Antwerp from the name, to be called “Comité Pro-Juegos Olímpicos” (pro-olympic games committee).
On July 4, 1921, at the initiative of the Círculo de Prensa (a press association), a meeting was held at its headquarters chaired by its owner, Mr. Tito L. Arata, with the objective of founding the Argentine Sports Confederation.
On that occasion, Dr. César Viale stated that since the “Comité Olímpico Argentino” (Argentine olympic committee) existed, the new entity should be it, with a different or modified name, and take advantage of what was already done.
The second meeting was held on July 12th, and the third on September 19th, 1921, when the Confederación Argentina de Deportes (Argentine Sports Confederation) was in fact constituted. Dr. Rafael Cullen appointed President.
In this second meeting, Dr. César Viale abstained from voting as representative of the Argentine Boxing Federation and as Vice-President of the Argentine Olympic Committee, stating that “status quo should be maintained and it was convenient to wait for the requested information to Dr. Marcelo T. de Alvear who was taking steps to obtain the admission of the Argentine Olympic Committee to the International Olympic Committee”.
Meanwhile, various and difficult negotiations were carried out between the Argentine Sports Confederation and the Argentine Olympic Committee to unify the direction of Argentine sport.
On January 31, 1922, Dr. Alvear wrote from Paris to Dr. Viale, Vice-President of the Argentine Olympic Committee, pointing out the urgent need for harmony and cooperation of all institutions in order to achieve a definitive organization, to make sport progress as much as possible in our country.
Due to its importance and the influence that they exerted on the subsequent organization of our sport, some paragraphs of that letter are transcribed. They prove that the man who a few months later would assume the Presidency had a clear vision of the problems ahead.
For this end, a National Sports Committee would be created. It would be in charge of the internal direction of everything related to this area. In turn, the Argentine Olympic Committee would have the function of representing before the International Olympic Committee, organization of the competition of our athletes in the International Olympics, thus delimiting precisely the different, although concordant functions of these two organizations and avoiding possible conflicts of attribution and jurisdiction that always detract from the true purposes that these organizations pursue.
There were no rules impeding members of the Argentine National Sports Committee to be also members of the Argentine Olympic Committee, producing the indispensible cooporation that was needed.
On March 28, 1922 the Argentine Olympic Committee met with the President and Secretary of the Argentine Sports Confederation, Don Rafael Cullen and Don Luis Carlini. At that meeting, among other points, the Committee’s Understanding with the Confederation was approved, taking into account the letter received by Dr. Viale and sent by Dr. Alvear, and it was also resolved:
- The resignation of the Board of Directors of the Committee since the Confederation had not appointed its definitive authorities, awaiting the incorporation of the Federations that would make up the Committee.
- To hold elections of the definitive authorities of the Confederation in an assembly in which the affiliated Federations of both entities will take part.
This was how the dissolution of the Argentine Olympic Committee was sealed.
On March 29th, Dr. César Viale telegraphically informs Dr. Alvear of the sports conflict that has been solved patriotically and also sends him a note transcribing and commenting on the resolution.
VIII Olympics Paris 1924
As the Argentine Olympic Committee did not exist, it was created by decree of the Executive Power of 12-31-23, appointing Dr. Ricardo C. Aldao as President and General Carlos J. Martinez, Mr. Arturo Goyeneche, Dr. Benito Nazar Anchorena and Dr. Francisco J. Beazley, providing the necessary financial resources and conferring exclusive authority to organize and direct our representation at the Games.
The decree referred to provided that the functions of the Argentine Olympic Committee would end as soon as the sports Associations regularize their own operation, and properly and permanently constitute the National Confederation, which should then be in charge of everything related to the international sport.
And, finally, by decree of May 31, 1927 signed by Dr. Alvear and all his Ministers, it was established that as a result of the note in which the Argentine Olympic Committee dated November 30, 1927, communicated that his decision was to terminate their duties based on the provisions on Art. 9 of the decree of its creation, and added the following articles:
Art 1: The mission reached by the agreement of December 31st, 1923, was entrusted to the Argentine Olympic Committee.
Art 2: The Argentine Sports Confederation is recognized as the entity to organize and direct the Argentine representation in the Olympic Games, sponsored by the International Olympic Committee and other tournaments to be held abroad or in our country with the intervention of foreigners.
To this end, the Argentine Sports Confederation is recognized as the Argentine Olympic Committee, and several other articles follow. The C.A.D.C.O.A. (Argentine Sports Confederation-Argentine Olympic Committee), was born.
The Argentine Sports Confederation was, in fact, constituted on September 19th, 1921, but in the extraordinary Congress of the Argentine Sports Confederation meeting on January 19th, 1925, called by the Board of Directors for the sole purpose of approving the new Statutes, recorded as a title in them: Argentine Sports Confederation founded 1 ° September 1921. On the last page it says: “the Extraordinary Congress ratifies that the foundation of the CAD is on September 1, 1921 and gives this act the character of its constitution”.
No explanation is given to this resolution and the Congress was attended by representatives of the following sports: Athletics, Shooting, Lawn Tennis, Balón, Swimming, Boxing, Basketball, Motorcycling, Cycling, and Football (soccer). It appointed Dr. Marcelo Fitte as President of the Argentine Sports Confederation.