Previous to the foundation of the EDSO in 1983 there were already European Championships of the Deaf since 1967. At this time they were still under the auspices of the Comité International des Sports (CISS), the World Federation of Deaf Sports. However, since their task was the promotion of deaf sports world-wide, they were not able to organise European Championships on a regular basis.
Countries which applied with the CISS for the organisation of a European Championship did get the authorisation without any problems. There were times in which there were 6 – 10 European Championships within on year. However, the European Countries were not able to finance this.
For this reason the countries Belgium, Netherlands, France and Germany took the initiative to found a European Deaf Sport Federation which had the task to provide orderly and regular European Championships. For this reason the delegates of the 4 countries met a few times to determine the shape and the programme of a European Deaf Sport Federation.
40 countries with 50.000 athletes in 1.000 Deaf Sports Clubs are members of the EDSO.
Apart from European Championships qualification matches have to be carried out in football, basketball (woman and men) and volleyball (woman and men) preliminary to the respective European Championships, since only 12 teams are able to participate in order to observe financial and time frames. A fixed number of the qualified teams are at the same time qualified for the participation in the World Games.