LONDON (Reuters) – Quidditch, the sport inspired by the wizarding game in the “Harry Potter” books, will now be known as quadball, its governing bodies said, a name change meant in part to distance themselves from author J.K. Rowling’s views on transgender issues.
In a statement on its website on Wednesday, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) said it was joining US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch – now rebranded as US Quadball (USQ) and Major League Quadball – in adopting the new name after all three bodies had previously announced their decision to make the change.
At the time they cited two reasons: Rowling’s opinions on transgender matters which have caused controversy, and Warner Bros., which was behind the “Harry Potter” films, owning the trademark for “quidditch”, limiting the sport’s expansion.
In 2020, Rowling voiced her concerns over trans women being allowed access to female spaces, drawing praise from some women’s rights campaigners as well as accusations of transphobia, which the author has rejected, by trans activists.
Chris Lau, chair of the IQA Board of Trustees, said IQA was “very excited to be joining USQ and MLQ in changing the name of our sport and supporting this change across our members worldwide”.
He added: “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.”
Quadball, referring to the number of balls and positions in the sport, was chosen following surveys.
First introduced in Rowling’s books, 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.
Today nearly 600 teams in 40 countries play the game, according to the IQA.
The USQ and MLQ will own the quadball trademark in the United States, the IQA said, adding that it expects to enter into a license agreement to use the term.
It said the last international quidditch tournament, the IQA European Games 2022, will be held on July 23-24 in the Irish city of Limerick, featuring 20 teams from Europe, Australia and Hong Kong.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich)