15/04/2024

Players from Victoria and NSW in action at the 2019 State Shield. Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography/Facebook

In an announcement made early Wednesday morning, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) announced that the sport was going to undergo a name change.

In an announcement made in the very early hours of Wednesday morning (AEST), the International Quidditch Association (IQA) put out an announcement that the sport was going to undergo a name change.

The idea for a name change came about late in 2021, as US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) announced that they would pursue one for the sport.

In a press release, the IQA stated it will be joining USQ and MLQ in rebranding the sport to Quadball on a worldwide basis.

“The IQA is very excited to be joining USQ and MLQ in changing the name of our sport and supporting this change across our members worldwide,” Chris Lau, chair of the IQA Board of Trustees said.

“We are confident in this step and we look forward to all the new opportunities quadball will bring. This is an important moment in our sport’s history, and I personally am thrilled to be a part of it.

“I would also like to thank USQ and MLQ for working to make this happen, and in particular Mary Kimball for being a great partner to navigate these waters together.”

Seeker Harry Greenhouse dives in for a successful snitch catch. (Photo: Miguel Esparza/USA Quidditch)

Why the name needed to change

There are a multitude of reasons as to why this change had to occur, and why this is now the right time for such a change to occur.

The two biggest reasons for the change are to separate the sport from J.K. Rowling and the broader Harry Potter universe, which has become an unfortunate association for so many of the playing community in recent years from a social standpoint. The financial limitations this brought about have limited growth of the sport due to trademarks and copyright issues.

The social aspect is something that could not continue for a sport that prides itself in its inclusivity of the LGBTQIA+ community. The IQA, whose mission statement reads:

“To lead and promote the sport of quidditch by holding international sporting events, supporting other quidditch groups and by sharing quidditch and our values of gender equity and inclusivity with a broader audience.”

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The second reason, the financial limitation, is a more difficult aspect to break down, as it will mean different things for the various National Governing Bodies (NGBs) around the world, as well as the IQA.

It is a move however, that is not without precedent.

The sport known as Ultimate, had its origins as Ultimate Frisbee, and part of the reason for that is because of the registration of the trademark ‘Frisbee’ by the company that created the flying disc.

This name change has seen the sport of Ultimate grow exponentially, and is currently played by an estimated 100,000+ players in over 30 countries. The World Flying Disc Federation, which oversees the sport, has a number of relationships with various sporting governing bodies, and is an international federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

While one might not expect Quadball to have a similar growth occur as quickly, given Ultimate has been around for over 50 years, it will kickstart the process.

NGBs and teams will no longer be hamstrung by risking copyright and trademark infringements when it comes to profit-making activities and exercises, and the professionalism of the sport at some point down the road should that be something NGBs and teams want to undertake.

The Australian Quidditch Team that will be at the IQA European Games. (Photo: Quidditch Australia/Facebook)

What impact will this name change have from a playing perspective?

As with all decisions of this nature, the announcement has been met with a mixed response.

While some love the move, there are others who do not, and have vocally voiced their disdain for the move throughout the entire process. This could see a short-term impact of playing numbers as people may choose to exit the sport.

From an on-field perspective, there could be a number of changes made to the sport as it is currently. However, these would most likely come in the form of name changes for the equipment used and player positions, and there would be little impact to the way the game itself is played.

The IQA has stated it will work with the NGBs on developing a timeline for the adoption of the new name following the IQA European Games, taking place on July 23-25 (AEST) in Limerick, Ireland. Australia will be one of the 20 teams competing to win the last international tournament played under the name of Quidditch.

You can watch the games live on the IQA YouTube channel, with the first game set for 8:30am local time (5:30pm AEST).

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