A chaser tries to advance the quaffle but is deterred by an opposing beater.
|Highest governing body||International Quidditch Association |
|First played||2005 in Middlebury, Vermont|
|Team members||7 on field, 21 total on roster
Both teams can substitute players freely at any time behind their proper keeper zone.
|Type||Team sport, ball sport|
Snitch (tennis ball)
|Venue||Quidditch pitch (also known simply as a "pitch")|
|Country or region||USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, China, Uganda, Indonesia, Singapore, Turkey|
Quidditch is a sport of two teams of seven players each mounted on broomsticks played on a hockey rink-sized pitch. The pitch is rectangular with rounded corners 54 metres (60 yards) by 43 metres (48 yards) with three hoops of varying heights at either end. Having been created in 2005, the sport is quite young, but it is played across the world and actively growing. The ultimate goal is to have more points than the other team by the time the snitch, a tennis ball inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow, is caught. Rules of the sport are governed by the International Quidditch Association, or the IQA, and events are sanctioned by either the IQA or that nation's governing body.
To score points, chasers or keepers must get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, into one of three of the opposing hoops which scores the team 10 points. To impede the quaffle from advancing down the pitch, chasers and keepers are able to tackle opposing chasers and keepers at the same time as beaters using their bludgers to take out opposing players. Once a player is hit by an opposing bludger, that player must dismount their broom, drop any ball being held and return to and touch their hoops before being allowed back into play. The game is ended once the snitch is caught by one of the seekers, awarding that team 30 points.
A team consists of minimum seven (maximum 21) players, of which six are always on the pitch, those being the chasers, keeper and beaters. Besides the seeker who is off-pitch, the six players are required to abide by the gender rule which states that two players must identify as a gender other than the majority, making quidditch one of the only sports that not only offers a co-ed environment but an open community to those who do not identify with the gender binary. Matches or games often run about 30 to 40 minutes but tend to be subject to varying lengths of time due to the unpredictable nature of the snitch catch. If the score at the end of the match including the 30 point snitch catch is tied (such that the team that caught the snitch was 30 points behind the other), the game moves to overtime where the snitch is constrained to the pitch's dimensions and the game ends after five minutes or when the snitch is legally caught.
- 1 History
- 2 Play
- 3 Positions in quidditch
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Rules
- 6 International Quidditch Association
- 7 Tournaments
- 8 Gender or "two minimum" rule and the LGBTQ* community
- 9 Quidditch community
- 10 Quidditch by other rules
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Quidditch has its 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 publications of rulebooks.
After beginning in 2005, the sport grew to the point where, in 2007, the first "IQA World Cup" took place with Middlebury taking the place of top team. Since then, yearly until 2014, there was a "World Cup" within the United States where collegiate and community teams would compete to be the best team. While Canada would often send several Ontario or Québec teams and Australia and France each sent one team once, the World Cup in its state never saw true international competition. In 2012, the IQA hosted the Summer Games where five nations hosted national teams. Two years later, on July 19, 2014, the IQA hosted the Global Games in Burnaby, BC, Canada where national teams came together to compete, with the States defeating Australia for the gold medal. 
Since beginning at Middlebury College, the sport has its roots in the United States, but it soon grew internationally, arriving in Canada through McGill University and Carleton University in 2009. It began to take shape in across the world with teams popping up in Australia, the UK and France. It soon spread across Europe and the Americas, arriving in Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands as well as Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. With Angus Barry's visit to Uganda, teams began to pop up there, as well as active teams in Malaysia, China and South Africa.
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. 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 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. 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
- 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, they must drop the quaffle and run back to their 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 goaltenders in hockey) 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 as well as having indisputable possession of the quaffle 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 they 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. As there are three bludgers for the four beaters on the pitch, the fourth, bludger-less beater puts pressure of the team in control of both bludgers (often called "BS" or "bludger supremacy"). Two beaters on a team may be in play at a time, 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 they can 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 their broom and return to their hoops. 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. Oftentimes, newly formed teams 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, though this practice is discouraged from continuing past the first few practises.
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). 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 dismounting their broomstick or getting hit with a bludger must touch with any part of your body excluding the 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.
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.
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.
The IQA has since released eight 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. 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 with the chasers returning to their keeper zone or proper side of the pitch; beaters are not bound to return to their side of the pitch nor exit the opposing team's keeper zone at any point. 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. 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
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. Contact initiated from behind is illegal, but it is considered clean if a player tackling another runs into the tackle and then turns backwards.
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.
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.
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, meaning players can continue play outside the boundaries, but within the spectator zone (a rectangle of 44 x 77m around the pitch). 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.
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 quaffle went through the hoop. 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.
International Quidditch Association
The International Quidditch Association serves as the central governing body for quidditch worldwide and helps to coordinate with national associations around the world through the IQA Congress. Previously, The IQA held a World Cup for qualifying members of the association at the end of every season, the first being held in 2007, ending in 2014 with its restructuring. Now, the only tournament the IQA oversees is the international Global Games.
Each nation in which quidditch is played has or is in the process of developing a national organisation. The job of the national organisation is to organise quidditch within the country, create membership policies for teams, organize referees, snitches and coaches and be the bridge between that nation's teams and the IQA. Currently, the active national associations are:
- US Quidditch
- Quidditch Canada
- Quidditch Benelux
- Australian Quidditch Association
- French Quidditch Association
- Asociación Mexicana de Quidditch
- Associazione Italiana Quidditch
- German Quidditch
- Federacion Argentina de Quidditch
Global Games is the IQA's tournament for national teams. Any quidditch-playing nation is offered the chance at competing on the world level at this tournament. The latest iteration was held in Burnaby, BC, Canada in July 2014 where it saw the US taking first with Australia coming in with a close second. The Games, hosted by US Quidditch, attracted limited media presence and saw a small gathering of spectators. The results were, in order: United States, Australia, Canada, UK, Mexico, France, Belgium.
The original Global Games were titled "Summer Games" to match the Olympics being held in London, UK. July 2012 saw 5 national teams from around the world compete in this 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.
IQA World Cup
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 North 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
- 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
The regional for the West was held on 23 November 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. 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.
The 2014 regional for the South with be February 15–16, 2014 in Rock Hill, SC.
- Eastern Canada
There were 6 bids allotted to Europe in 2013/2014. The European Regional Tournament took place in Brussels hosted by Belgium Quidditch 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. The all-Australian regional, known as "QUAFL," took place at the University of Western Sydney on 30 November and 1 December 2013. The Perth Phoenixes took out the 2013 title, with the third placed University of Sydney Unspeakables being the first qualifying Australian team to compete in the World Cup.
Other large tournaments
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. 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.
Fantasy tournaments are tournaments where players sign up individually and are seeding to teams at a drawing by the team captains. Each year, there are quite a few fantasy tournaments, with greater numbers being during June–August during the off-season.
Gender or "two minimum" rule and the LGBTQ* community
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." 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.
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"). 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
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.
Modified rules with less contact have been used for younger (school age) players. These rules include no tackling, modified hoops and a little lee-way on calls made by referees.
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