What makes it extremely important is the key role it played in the proper conduct of the Games. On the one hand, it was the seat of the organizers, i.e., the Eleian Senate, and the umpires called hellanodikai. On the other hand, it was the seat of all the bureaucracy related to the Games; it was the place where the athletes registered and drew lots to find out who their opponents would be, and where their names were officially announced along with the program of events. It was also a type of court, where offences and possible objections were tried, and the subsequent penalties decided. Last, it may have been the site of the Eleians' permanent records listing the victors' names.
The structure consisted of two similarly sized apsidal buildings; later on, a possibly open hall of fourteen square metres was added, where the entry ritual was performed. The athletes had to take an oath under the threatening look of the statue of Zeus Horkios (Zeus of the Oaths), depicted holding his thunderbolts of just punishment. Standing on wild boar genitals, athletes and umpires took the sacred oath, while the athlete's relatives and coaches also swore to abide by the rules and respect fair play. An inscription with curses and penalties for those who would dare break the oaths was installed before the imposing statue.