The French National Team runs to the balls at the European Games Final

What is Quidditch

Quidditch is a competitive sport growing rapidly around the world, played by all ages from school-age children to adults. Originally based on the fictional sport in the Harry Potter series, quidditch was adapted to a physical and tactical sport while maintaining the spirit of the source material by fans in 2005. It has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon and is the one of the few mixed-gender full contact sports. Quidditch is played in over 30 countries and governed by the International Quidditch Association (IQA).

Team Malaysia at the 2018 World Cup
Photo Credit: Ajanatha Abey Quidditch Photography

How did Quidditch Start?

One afternoon in 2005, two students at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA, Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, decided that rather than playing bocche, they would have a go trying to play quidditch instead. Because why not? 

With a group of friends, taking a lot of the rules from the Potter novels, they created the very first version of real-life quidditch. Gradually, they codified the rules as news spread and others schools heard about it and their regular intramural games. Two years later in 2007 came the first intercollegiate match. From there, quidditch really took off. 

Team Netherlands at the 2018 World Cup
Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography

A Brief History of International Quidditch

Just a year after the first intercollegiate match saw the first international quidditch games, with a "World Cup" championship featuring 11 US college teams and one team from Canada. As the game grew in the US and Canada, the IQA was founded to govern the sport and was incorporated into a NFP business in 2010. The 'Quidditch World Cup' was held annually in the US, featuring rapidly increasing numbers of college and community teams from around the States, with the odd other team from Canada, France, and even Finland. By 2011, World Cup V in New York featured 96 teams and 10,000 ticketed spectators.

2012 saw the first proper world cup, called the Summer Games, and held in Oxford to coincide with the Olympics and raise awareness for the sport. It was contested by national teams from the US, Canada, Australia, France, and the UK, with the US coming out dominant. This kick-started the rapid development of quidditch throughout Europe. 

By 2014, the sport had become significantly international and the predominantly US based IQA then split into US Quidditch and a truly international IQA. This was also the last year where the US 'World Cup' was called such, and the last year where international teams were invited.

2014 also saw the second tournament held between national teams from around the world, where 7 countries (the original five plus Belgium and Mexico) converged on Burnaby, Canada, to compete in the Global Games. The US also dominated this tournament.

Two years later saw the 2016 IQA Quidditch World Cup, a landmark event in the history of the sport, held in Frankfurt, Germany. The tournament now featured 21 teams from 5 continents, and saw the first time in history where the US was defeated, with the Australian Dropbears winning the grand final 150*-130.

From there, quidditch has only continued to grow, as more and more countries in the Asia-Pacific region began taking up the sport as well and growing to a level of prominence that allowed them to compete in the 2018 World Cup, held in Florence, Italy. The US regained their dominance in the grand final against Belgium.

Today there are over 30 official member nations in the IQA, each officiating tournaments and gameplay in their own countries, with quidditch also being played in smaller scales in many more countries all over the world.

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IQA and its activities are not licensed by, sponsored by or associated with Warner Bros., J.K. Rowling or their affiliates. 'Quidditch', 'Harry Potter' and all related names, characters and indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. - Harry Potter publishing rights © J.K. Rowling

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