Australia

The Harry Potter-inspired international sport Quidditch is rebranding to ‘quadball’. Here’s why

The sport of quidditch, inspired by the Harry Potter fantasy novel series, is moving to rebrand itself as “quadball” to avoid copyright issues and distance itself from views on transgender issues expressed by the books’ author.
This week, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) announced it would follow the lead of US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch in ditching the name quidditch, which is trademarked by entertainment company Warner Bros., in favour of “quadball”.
The IQA cited both copyright issues and a desire to distance the sport from the “anti-trans” views of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling as the reasons for the move.

A Quidditch Australia representative told SBS News the national body was “very supportive” of the change, and would hold a board meeting to discuss adopting the new name next month.

Quidditch is played by as many as 600 teams in 40 countries according to the IQA. Credit: Ajantha Abey

“First, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions. LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign as well as the three lead actors in the Harry Potter film series have criticized her stances,” the explaining the name change.

“In addition, the sport inspired by quidditch is looking to continue to grow like other sports that have sprung from humble origins. The game commonly known as ultimate Frisbee has officially changed its name to ultimate, in part because “Frisbee” is a registered trademark of the Wham-O toy company that invented the piece of equipment.”
Ms Rowling’s views on sex and gender have been criticised as “transphobic”, an allegation she has repeatedly denied.
In a statement posted online in 2020, Ms , saying she was “deeply concerned about the consequences of the current trans activism”.
J.K. Rowling in New York at an awards service in 2019

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been the subject of controversy. Source: Getty

“I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside,” she wrote.

The IQA said the sport’s new name had “received strong support across demographic groups in various worldwide surveys”.

Quadball “refers to both the number of balls and the number of positions in the real-life sport”, the organisation said.

Quidditch Australia backs name change

Quidditch Australia secretary Jamie Turbet told SBS News that the national organisation was “very supportive” of the US leagues’ and IQA’s decisions to change the sport’s name, and would hold a board meeting in August to officially discuss adopting the new name.
“We are very supportive of the US Quidditch and the International Quidditch Association for this change, we think it’s a step in the right direction, and we think quadball is as good a name as you could get,” Ms Turbet said.
Being “an inclusive sport is very integral to quidditch”, Ms Turbet said, describing Ms Rowling’s “anti-trans” comments as “pretty damaging”.

“We are a mixed-gender sport, and we have specific ratios of genders that we need to keep on pitch, and we also recognise genders beyond girl and boy, we also recognise non-binary, trans folks,” she explained.

A group photo of The Dropbears quidditch team.

Credit: Ajantha Abey

“So to have the creator, J.K., be very much on the anti-trans movement at the moment is pretty damaging to a lot of our players and it’s not something we want to be associated with, because we have such an inclusive community and it really goes against like the heart of the community to be seen supporting those sort of comments.”

Quidditch is played by approximately 600 teams in 40 countries around the world according to the IQA, and the sport has built a strong base in Australia over more than a decade.
First introduced in Rowling’s Harry Potter books – the highest-selling book series of all time – the game was adapted to real life in 2005 with two teams of seven players running around with broomsticks between their legs in a full contact sport.
This weekend, Australia’s national quidditch team, The Dropbears, will compete in the IQA European Games in Limerick, Ireland.

The tournament will be the last time the name ‘quidditch’ is used by the IQA for international competitions, with the organisation saying it would work with its member national governing bodies “on developing a timeline for adopting the new name following the European Games”.

People play quidditch in Australia.

Quidditch Australia says inclusivity is integral to the sport, and has expressed support for the name change. Credit: Taylor Angelo

Running from 22-24 July, the European Games will feature 20 teams from Europe, Australia and Hong Kong.

The games will be The Dropbears’ first major international competition since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted sporting competitions around the world.

With Reuters.

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