Sport changes name after J.K. Rowling trans row


Quidditch was brought to life in the Harry Potter books and is now popular in US colleges

Quidditch’s governing bodies have decided to change the sport’s name to ‘quadball’, partly as a reaction to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s supposedly “anti-trans positions.”

Quidditch was brought to life by Rowling in the widely popular book series about the teenage wizard, and has since spread to US college campuses.

In December last year, US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch revealed that they were mulling over a name change due to a loss of “sponsorship and broadcast opportunities.”

These were being made due to Warner Bros, which produced the Hollywood box office smash movies based on the Harry Potter books, owning the copyright for the sport’s original name.

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JK Rowling © Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images
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On Tuesday, though, a separate governing body named International Quidditch Association said that Rowling’s “anti-trans positions” were the reason for the change to quadball.

“We’ve tried to be clear that it’s both reasons,” remarked US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch spokesman Jack McGovern to the New York Times.

“We did not intend to give a value judgment about which reason was more important than the other,” he added, though McGovern did claim that the sport’s association with Rowling, who has been accused of being transphobic and denies such claims, has been problematic in recruiting new players.

The quadball name refers to the amount of balls on the field during matches and also the number of player positions.

Major League Quidditch and US Quidditch are now to be known as Major League Quadball and US Quadball moving forward, with the International Quidditch Association expected to alter its name accordingly in the near future.

Two Quidditch teams in action in Germany earlier this year. © Michael Matthey / picture alliance via Getty Images

In a statement, US Quadball executive director Mary Kimball noted how, “in less than 20 years” their sport has grown “from a few dozen college students in rural Vermont to a global phenomenon with thousands of players, semi-pro leagues and international championships”.

“Our organizations are committed to continuing to push quadball forward,” she vowed.

Quadball was adapted into a real-life sport 17 years ago in 2005 and now boasts 600 teams across 40 countries.

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