As part of an effort to alienate the sport from its creator, who has drawn controversy for his views on transgender issues, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) has announced that the sport will henceforth be known as quad ball.
“This is a significant moment in the history of our sport,” IQA Board Chairman Chris Lau said in a statement. statement. “We are confident in this stage and look forward to all the new opportunities quadball will bring.”
The global body said a key reason for the name change was that Rowling “is coming under increasing scrutiny for her anti-trans stances”. It lists LGBTQ advocacy groups who have criticized the writer, as well as leading actors who have appeared in the hugely popular Harry Potter films and who have also criticized his views.
The IQA said a second reason for the name change was trademarks and licensing. The “quidditch” brand is owned by entertainment company Warner Bros., and organizers want to use the quadball brand to continue developing the game “to make it a mainstay in organized sports.”
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Rowling, 56, fueled a social media storm after sharing her views on Twitter and later writing a lengthy personal message writing on transgender issues, prompting many in the LGBTQ community to accuse her of transphobia. Rowling said she supports trans rights and is a longtime donor to LGBTQ charities, but does not believe in “erasing” the concept of biological sex.
She hasn’t publicly commented on the name change, but earlier this month she tweeted“Like many women on the left, I despair that so many self-proclaimed liberals turn a blind eye to the naked misogyny of the gender identity movement and the threat it poses to the rights of women and girls.” Rowling, who could not immediately be reached for comment early Wednesday, added: ‘I think women are susceptible to certain harms and have specific needs and feminism is necessary to secure and protect our rights.’
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Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who played the trio of best friends Harry, Hermione and Ron, respectively, on the legendary Hogwarts School set, all publicly distanced themselves from Rowling’s comments and said that they support with the trans community.
The proposal to change the sport’s name was first made in March, and thousands of players around the world were asked about the new name, the IQA said, before choosing quadball – which refers both the number of balls and the number of positions. used in sports.
Quidditch came off the page and was adapted for the real field in 2005, when it was first played at Middlebury College in Vermont. The rules were gradually codified and the sport took off in 2007.
It now has nearly 600 teams in 40 countries, the IQA saidand is often broadcast on TV and online.
Seven players from each team – including chasers, batsmen and a seeker (a Harry Potter-specific position) – attempt to score the puff ball through the opposing hoops. Instead of flying, players run with ersatz broomsticks positioned between their legs as they scramble, grab, defend and tackle to score points and win.
“The broom adds a layer of skill and complexity to the sport, thanks to a handicap that works the same way you have to pass a ball backwards in rugby, or can only kick the ball” in football, according at QuidditchUK, the sport’s governing body in Britain.
The sport is “unique as the only full-contact co-ed sport in the world, particularly for those who identify with trans or non-binary communities”, QuidditchUK states on its website. “We celebrate this inclusion of members of the LGBTQ+ communities and strongly encourage anyone from all walks of life to participate in our sport.”
Major League Quidditch, a league in the United States and Canada, and US Quidditch, the sport’s US governing body, are also parties to the name change.
“Quadball is not just a new name, it is a symbol of a future for the sport without limits,” the founders of Major League Quidditch wrote in a statement. letter posted on Tuesday. “With him, we hope to make this sport exactly what he aspires to: something for everyone.”
Major League Quidditch said it “did not make this name change lightly” and expects to revamp franchises by fall and pursue rebranding before the end of the year. year. Changing the sport’s name “opens up unprecedented opportunities for growth, exposure and partnerships,” the group added.
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In Britain, QuidditchUK said it fully supported the rebranding, calling it “a great moment in the development of our sport”.
“The name change signals a strong stance with our trans players and members, while giving us a stronger legal footing and opening up greater opportunities for external funding and partners,” he said. said on its website. Quidditch’s rebranding will continue this year, and players should also expect ball names to change as part of the revamp. The name of the snitch – a magic ball of gold in the books and a role played by a person in the game – will also be changed.
Rowling’s Harry Potter books, first published in 1997, have become a staple for many children and a global phenomenon, along with movies, theme parks and merchandise.
The stories follow orphaned wizard Harry as he seeks to save the magical world from nemesis Voldemort, alongside his classmates. Extremely popular books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide and have been translated into over 80 languages.
The next international quidditch tournament will take place this weekend in Limerick, Ireland, the IQA announced, with teams from Europe, Australia and Hong Kong taking part.