Muggle Quidditch

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Muggle quidditch
Highest governing body International Quidditch Association [1]
Nickname(s) Quidditch
First played Middlebury, Vermont (using material from Harry Potter franchise)
Contact full contact[1]
Team members 7 on field, 21 total on roster
Both teams can substitute players freely at any time behind their proper keeper zone.
Mixed gender Yes
Categorization Team sport, ball sport
Equipment Quaffle (volleyball)
Bludger (dodgeball)
Venue Quidditch pitch (also known simply as a "pitch")
Country or region USA, Canada, Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, China, Uganda, Indonesia, Singapore
Olympic No.

Muggle quidditch is a sport based on Quidditch, the fictional sport developed by British author J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series of children's novels. As in the fictional sport, muggle quidditch has seven players on each team: 3 chasers, 2 beaters, 1 keeper and 1 seeker. Muggle quidditch has been adapted for play on the ground, with game play confined to a playing field comparable in size to an ice hockey rink.[2] The sport is adapted using elements of rugby, dodgeball, tag, wrestling and lacrosse.[3]


Muggle quidditch has it's roots in the fictional Harry Potter sport of the same name, however to denote the difference, the fictional sport uses the capitalised "Quidditch" whereas the sport played as per the IQA rules uses the uncapitalised "quidditch". The sport was created in 2005 at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. It has grown into its own separate and distinct sport after seven[4] publications of rulebooks.[2]


Three circular goals are placed on either side of the pitch. The goals are often circular tubes on top of PVC pipes. All players are required to carry a broom between their legs at all times, on pain of a foul.[2] Volleyballs are used as the quaffle, and dodgeballs serve as the bludgers. While the snitch is a magical object within the canon of the Harry Potter novels, in quidditch the snitch is simply a tennis ball contained in a sock tucked in the waistband of the snitch runner. The snitch runner is a neutral player affiliated with neither team dressed in all gold or yellow. After release, the snitch runner (and thereby the snitch itself) is allowed to roam an area beyond the playing field. When played on a university or college campus the range is often the entire campus.[5] The seekers search for the runner around campus; if they fail to catch him, he returns to the field after a pre-determined time.

The game begins with the quaffle and bludgers placed in the centre of the field and all players in line with their respective goalposts. After the snitch is out of sight, the referee yells 'Brooms Up!' to start the game. The game continues until the snitch has been caught. 30 points are awarded to the team who captures the snitch, and the team with the highest number of points wins.

Positions in quidditch[edit]

  • Chasers are responsible for passing the quaffle and scoring points by throwing the quaffle through one of the opponent's goals for 10 points. Three chasers from a team may be in play at one time. When a bludger hits a Chaser in possession of the quaffle, he or she must drop the quaffle and run back to his or her own goalpost to simulate recovery time. There are three chasers on the field for each team and can they be identified by a white headband.
  • Keepers are the goal protectors (similar to goalkeepers in soccer) and must try to block attempts to score by the opposing team's chasers. One keeper from a team may be in play at a time. The keeper is invulnerable to bludgers when within their team's keeper zone, an area around the team's hoops. Once outside of the keeper zone, the keeper serves as a fourth chaser. There is one keeper on the field for each team and he or she can be identified by a green headband.
  • Beaters attempt to hit the opposing team's players with bludgers and attempt to block the bludgers from hitting their team's players. Two beaters on a team may be in play at a time. There are two beaters on the field for each team and they can be identified by a black headband.
  • Seekers attempt to catch the snitch. Though the snitch leaves the pitch at the start of the game and often does not return until a predetermined period has passed, seekers are able to search for the snitch off the pitch throughout the game. There is one seeker on the field for each team and can he or she be identified by a gold or yellow headband.


The game is played with six standing hoops, three on each side of an elliptical pitch. Each player must hold a broomstick between their legs. There are three different types of balls in play, and five in total: the quaffle, three bludgers and the snitch.


Probably the most iconic piece of equipment for quidditch, the broomstick serves the purpose of being a "handicap" such as one-handed dribbling in basketball or using only your feet in association football. The player must stay mounted on their broomstick for every moment of play unless they have been hit with a bludger, in which case the player needs to dismount from the broom and return to the hoops.[6] To be mounted on the broomstick means that the player must hold the broom between their legs and not have it fully on the ground. It can be supported by their thighs or hands equally, just as long as it is not attached to their person nor fully resting on the ground.

Players ride a variety of objects considered to be brooms depending on level of seriousness. Often, the most serious of teams are all seen on the competition series of brooms, the Shadow Chasers, where teams with access to less resources tend to play on PVC pipes of about a metre in length. Many times, teams that are just beginning tell players to BYOB (bring your own broom), which results in players coming on an assortment of camp and/or dangerous "brooms", from Swiffers to 2x4 pieces of wood.


Three hoops are placed on either side of the pitch of differing heights (1m, 1.4m and 2m), placed two broomsticks apart (2.34 m).[7] Chasers and keepers can score by throwing the quaffle through any one of the hoops, from either front or back, gaining ten points for their team per score. Any player experiencing a knock-out effect from either falling off their broomstick or getting hit with a bludger must touch with skin (not broom) any one of their hoops before returning to play.


The quaffle is a slightly-deflated regulation volleyball that can only be manipulated by chasers or keepers. Used for scoring, it may pass through any hoop from either side. Regardless of which team caused the quaffle to pass through the hoop, as long as it is in play, a goal is scored against the team whose hoop was scored upon, which is counted to be 10 points.[8]


The bludger is a slightly-deflated dodgeball that can only be manipulated by beaters. At any given time there are four beaters in play, but only three bludgers. The bludgers are used to hit any other player on the field. Upon being hit by a bludger previously in the possession of an opposing beater, the player suffers the knockout effect. This means they must dismount their broom, drop any ball that they may have been carrying, and touch their team's hoops before resuming play. It's worth noting that there is no friendly fire, meaning that bludgers thrown by beaters cannot affect any of their teammates.[8]


The snitch is a tennis ball or balled-up socks placed at the bottom of either a gold or yellow long sock. The sock is tucked into the back of the snitch runner's shorts as if it were a tail. The snitch runner may do everything in his or her power to protect the snitch from being snatched by seekers. Only seekers may make advances towards the snitch or the snitch runner, and no forceful contact with the snitch runner is allowed. The game ends when the snitch is grabbed by a seeker, awarding that seeker's team 30 points.[8]


The IQA has since released seven iterations of the rulebook, each building upon the last. Currently, there are translations until Rulebook 5 in French and versions in Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.


Each match begins with the seven starting players along the starting line within their keeper zone with brooms on the ground and their eyes closed (so as to not watch where the snitch goes) and the four balls lined in the centre of the pitch. The head referee, when they see the snitch fall out of sight, then calls "brooms up!" to which player run to gain possession of the balls.[9] After brooms up is called, the seekers must not interfere with other positions and wait near the pitch until the end of the seeker floor, usually 10 minutes. After the seeker floor the seekers are released and may run off pitch to search for the snitch.

Play style runs rapidly, with quick change-of-hands of the quaffle as every point (with each being worth 10 points) scored against your team gives your team the ball. Once a point is scored, the quaffle must be given to the other team's keeper and almost immediately return to the offensive[10] with the chasers returning to their keeper zone or proper side of the pitch;[11] beaters are not bound to return to their side of the pitch nor exit the opposing team's keeper zone at any point.[12] Games generally last 20 to 50 minutes, depending on the skill and endurance of the seekers and snitch.

The game is won only after the snitch has been caught cleanly, and the team that caught the snitch is awarded 30 points.[13] The winner is determined not by the snitch catch but by the number of points earned, thus it is not unknown to see teams losing by a wide margin push a snitch catch to end the game.

Fouls and illegal plays[edit]

There are numerous fouls and illegal plays a player can commit, where varying degrees of illegality will earn a player anything from a warning to a red card and permanent expulsion from that match.

Contact rules are fairly straightforward and are similar to other contact sports. Tackles are legal between the knees and shoulders. Players can only tackle other players of their same position (keepers considered chasers) if they have the ball. Pushes are allowed if the arm is held straight; it is illegal to push if the arm is bent and then extended when pushing another player.[14] Contact initiated from behind is illegal, but it is considered clean if a player tackling another runs into the tackle and then turns backwards.[15]

After several various types of illegal play, the head ref will blow their whistle twice to indicate stoppage of play where each player must drop in place their broom and any ball they were holding.[16]

Most fouls result in a yellow card being given. With a yellow card, the player awarded the card goes to the penalty box for 1 minute, or until their team is scored upon. Players may not sub from the penalty box, however, if a keeper is awarded a penalty he or she must trade headbands with a chaser as a team must have a keeper on the pitch at all times.

Standard pitch measurements in yards

When a red card is given, the player who committed the foul must sub off for somebody else on his or her team. The player who received the red card must leave the pitch. Their replacement then has 2 minutes in the penalty box, and is not allowed to leave the penalty box for those 2 minutes even if his or her team is scored upon. A red card can either be given outright or can be the result of two yellow cards in a game.

The snitch, however, only has a few explicit restrictions such as climbing trees and buildings.


The quidditch pitch is marked with lines or a series of cones, but it is not binding to players,[17] meaning players can continue play outside the boundaries, but within the spectator zone (a rectangle of 44 x 77m (48 x 84yds) around the pitch).[18] Balls are not allowed to be kicked off the pitch under penalty nor is play allowed in the spectator zones. Players are asked to return to the pitch when play continues out of bounds.

On the edge of the pitch are two penalty boxes where players who have committed fouls that warrant yellow cards are sent for one minute.[19]


Each official game requires having several referees present as well as an official snitch. The referees are the head ref whose job is to control the field and administer fouls and yellow/red cards to offending players, assistant refs who assist the head referee in watching for illegal plays, the snitch ref who follows the snitch once they enter the field and determine whether or not the catch was clean and the goal refs whose job is to determine if the ball went through the hoop, and if the player who tried to score was or was not beat.[14] Assistant refs are oftentimes called bludger or beater refs, and their job is to call "beat" (or, in French, "touché") when the beat was clean (meaning hit the opposing player), to help determine whether a goal was scored based on the beat and assist with making calls concerning illegal action or give verbal warnings to players. Assistant referees are also able to communicate to the head ref for a stoppage of play if witness to action that would result in a yellow card. Snitch refs, whilst the snitch is off field, act as an additional bludger ref.

The snitch, being a neutral player and assistant referee, is tasked to run off the pitch before the initial "brooms up!" call. Since they originate from neither team and are considered a referee themselves, it is also under their judgement to help the referees to determine whether or not the catch was clean.[14]

International Quidditch Association[edit]

The International Quidditch Association serves as the main association for quidditch and helps organize roughly 1000 teams, 600 teams in the United States alone. The IQA holds a World Cup for qualifying members of the association at the end of every season, the first being held in 2007.


IQA World Cup[edit]

The first intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup was held in 2007 at Middlebury College in Vermont, between Middlebury and Vassar College from Poughkeepsie, New York. Since then, it has been held in various places in the continental United States, most recently being in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The World Cup hosts beyond just top-level quidditch musical events, food sales and broom sales. On average, there are 70 or so teams present that proceed to pool play, where teams are grouped and the top teams from the group advance to bracket play. At the 2014 IQA World Cup, there were nine fields with field one being livestreamed and commentary at each field.

IQA World Cup Champions[edit]

2007: Middlebury College
2008: Middlebury College
2009: Middlebury College
2010: Middlebury College
2011: Middlebury College
2012: None, due to the fact that the 2011-2012 season's World Cup was held late 2011, and the 2012-2013 World Cup was not held until April of 2013 (the end of the season)
2013: University of Texas Austin
2014: University of Texas Austin


Each region in the IQA hosts their own region to determine which teams will make it to the World Cup. The amount of spots given is based on the amount of teams being official by a certain date during the given season.

US and Canada[edit]


The regional for the Northeast was held on 16 November 2013 in Rochester, New York for 12 bids.[20][21]


The regional for the Midwest was held on 26 October 2013 in Rockford, Illinois for 15 bids.[20][21]


The regional for the Mid-Atlantic was held on 23 November 2013 in Leesburg, Virginia for 10 bids.[20][21]


The regional for the West was held on 23 November 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.[20] Due to heavy rain, the tournament was moved to an indoor facility to host the fifteen teams present. The 11 bids went to the winning teams from that tournament.[21]


The 2014 regional for the South with be February 15–16, 2014 in Rock Hill, SC.[22]


The regional for the Southwest will be held on 22 February 2014 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with teams vying for the 11 bids.[20][21]

Eastern Canada

The regional was Canada Cup held on 9 November 2013 in Toronto, Ontario. The four teams to qualify were the GeeGees (uOttawa), Carleton, Maple Rush (uOttawa) and McGill in that order.[23]


There were 6 bids allotted to Europe in 2013/2014.[21] The European Regional Tournament took place in Brussels on the 1st and 2 February 2014. The Radcliffe Chimeras came out as eventual champions, beating Paris Phénix 100*-30 in the final. Brindisi Lunatica, Belgian Qwaffles, Antwerpen Beerters and Paris Frog also qualified for World Cup places.


There were 4 bids allotted to Oceania in 2013/2014.[21] The regional will take place at the University of Western Sydney on 30 November and 1 December 2013.

Global Games[edit]

July 2012 saw 5 national teams from around the world have the first international tournament run by the IQA, taking place in University Parks, Oxford, England. The five teams were from the USA, Canada, France, UK, and Australia. Originally called Summer Games, the tournament has since changed to Global Games with the creation of the second annual tournament taking place in Burnaby, BC, Canada, where it will host only national teams.[24]

Other large tournaments[edit]

Each season, regions generally host one to two larger tournaments, mostly following the North American/European school model of two terms (autumn-winter, winter-spring) where there is one larger tournament per semester in addition to that region's regional championship.

The British Quidditch Cup was held in Oxford, England, on the 9th and 10 November 2013, and was won by the Oxford University's first team, The Radcliffe Chimeras.[25] Other British tournaments include The Northern Cup, hosted by Keele University's Quidditch team AvadaKeeleDavra, the Southern Cup, hosted by Southampton Quidditch, the annual Mercenary Tournament, Reading University's Whiteknights Tournament and Oxford's unique Valentines Cup, a fantasy tournament where players signed-up in pairs. Since the awareness of Quidditch in the UK is rising exponentially, every year new tournaments are being devised.

Gender or "two minimum" rule[edit]

Since its inception, quidditch has sought equality on the pitch in terms of gender. One of the most requirements is that "each team [is] to have at least two players on the field who identify with a different gender than at least two other players. The gender that a player identifies with is considered to be that player’s gender, which may or may not be the same as that person’s sex."[26] Because of this wording, quidditch is becoming a leader of sports for equal basing for both women and the LGBTQ* community. As of 2013, the IQA has created Title 9 ¾, a branch of the IQA that actively promotes advocacy and awareness as well as gender equality and inclusivity.[27]

Quidditch community[edit]

Quidditch has created a strong community across the world based on mutual respect and "quidditch love" ("quove"). The sport has attracted people from varying social groups, from stereotypical jocks to Harry Potter and fantasy nerds, in addition to respecting non-heteronormative individuals and people who do not identify with the gender binary, in large part due to Title 9 ¾, the clause that defends the rule of the two-minimum gender rule ("During a quidditch game, each team must have at least two players in play who identify with a different gender than at least two other players. The gender that a player identifies with is considered to be that player's gender").[28] People from all walks of life come together to play a sport that breaches traditional sports stereotypes. A person who is a part of this community is dubbed a "quidditch kid" ("quidkid").

Quidditch by other rules[edit]

There are other variants of real-life Quidditch, notably played in Russia, Kazakhstan and Hungary amongst other places. These variants often play with rules similar to the fictional sport within the Harry Potter universe but differ wildly from the IQA rules, including but not limited to: playing without brooms, brooms serving a different purpose, referees throwing balls to act as snitches, differing bludger and beater roles, etc.

A version of "real life" Quidditch is also portrayed in the film The Internship.


  1. ^ "Safety in Quidditch: A Pre-Report | International Quidditch Association". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Get the Rules | International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  3. ^ Goodale, Gloria (2010-11-17), 'Harry Potter' real-world appeal: quidditch leagues and rock cake recipes, Christian Science Monitor 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Universities fall under game's spell[dead link]
  6. ^ "Rule 6.1. The Mounted Broom; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  7. ^ " and Hoop Shape and Positioning; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  8. ^ a b c "2.3 Game Balls; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  9. ^ "Rule 3.2, Starting the Game; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  10. ^ "Rule 4.4.4 Keeper Possession; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  11. ^ "Chaser Restart 4.4.1; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Rule 4.4 Restarting After a Goal - only applies to chasers; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  13. ^ "Rule 4.5 The Snitch Catch; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  14. ^ a b c "IQA Rulebook 7; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  15. ^ "New rule as of Rulebook 7 under 6.3.8; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  16. ^ "Rule 3.3 Stopping Play; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  17. ^ "Rule Pitch Shape; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  18. ^ "Rule Spectator Area; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  19. ^ "Rule Time of Penalty; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  20. ^ a b c d e "Regionals; Quidditch Reference". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "Qualifying for the World Cup; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Qualifying Teams for WC; Quidditch Reference". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  24. ^ IQA Website: IQA Global Games Announced
  25. ^ BBC Website: First 'Quidditch' British Cup under way in Oxford
  26. ^ "Two Minimum Rule; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  27. ^ "Title 9 ¾; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  28. ^ "7.1.3 Gender Rule; International Quidditch Association". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 

External links[edit]