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Real-life Quidditch leagues have changed the name of the ‘Harry Potter’ sport to distance the competition from J.K. Rowling in response to her views on trans people.
The fictional sports game was invented by the best-selling author as part of her ‘Harry Potter’ book series – which began in 1997 with the release of first novel ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ in June 1997 – and sees the pupils of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry compete in two teams flying on broomsticks and scoring points with four types of balls.
The game – which is ultimately won if the player known as the Seeker captures the Golden Snitch – has thousands of real-life players who simulate the matches without the ability to fly on magical broomsticks.
Following a survey at the end of 2021, the US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch have decided to rename the sport as quadball.
They explained that the change had come about because the name “quidditch” had been trademarked by American film company Warner Bros. – who own the movie rights to ‘Harry Potter’ – and because Rowling “has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years”.
In a statement, Major League Quidditch said on Tuesday (19.07.22): “[The new name] opens unprecedented opportunities for growth, exposure and partnerships. It is a game changer and we are looking to make the most of it.”
Meanwhile, Mary Kimball, executive director of US Quadball, explained that the game was first played by students at Middlebury College in Vermont back in 2005 but has grown exponentially since and the organisations will continue to “push” with the new name.
She said: “In less than 20 years, our 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 organisations are committed to continuing to push quadball forward.”
The governing body for US Quidditch changed its name with immediate effect, while Major League Quidditch said that the new name would come into effect after the 2022 MLQ Championship in August
Rowling – whose real name is Joanne Rowling – has sold more than 500 million copies of the seven-book series since it was first published in 1997 and is thought to be the world’s richest living author with a reported net worth of $1 billion.
She first came under fire for her trans views back in June 2020 for rebuking the idea that the act of menstruation should be regarded as gender neutral.
She tweeted: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Rowling has since continued to back women’s rights over the call for inclusion of self-identifying women, attracting much criticism from the trans community, whilst simultaneously being backed by many feminist campaigners.