By Helen William, PA
The sport of Quidditch is to change its name in a move that is set to “distance” the sport from Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
The broomstick-borne sport of Quidditch was influenced by Rowling’s best-selling wizard novels and invented in the United States in 2005, before taking off globally.
It will now be known as “Quadball” in a move which governing body QuidditchUK (QUK) described as a “great moment in the development of our sport, which is both symbolically and practically significant”.
QUK added: “The name change indicates a firm stance with our trans players and members, as well as giving us more firm legal footing and opening up greater opportunities for funding and external partners.”
Quidditch is a full-contact mixed-gender sport and it encourages those who identify with the trans and non-binary community to take part.
Late last year, US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) announced they would carry out a series of surveys to find a new name for the sport, after Rowling attracted criticism for her views on gender identity.
In the past, Rowling has said she was partly motivated to speak out about transgender issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Critics have accused the writer of being transphobic, an allegation which she strongly denies.
At the time, QUK said the name change was a necessary “shift towards our own identity” because of issues surrounding both the Warner Brothers film company trademark and Rowling’s remarks.
It stated: “More importantly, distancing ourselves from JK Rowling will cement the sport and community as the inclusive space it already is.
“Since our inception the inclusion of all persons, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, or background has been a cornerstone of our sport.
“We cannot continue to call ourselves quidditch and be associated with JK Rowling while she continues to make damaging and hateful comments against the many transgender athletes, staff, and volunteers who call this sporting community home.”
On Wednesday, QUK described itself as “happy” with the new name that had been picked by USQ.
Players will see changes such as a new name for the ball.
QUK said rebranding will take place later this year.
QUK has previously said the sport has been steadily growing beyond Harry Potter franchise, and this shift will allow more opportunities for growth, sponsorship and expansion outside of current events and operations.
The IQA will be joining US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch in changing the name of the sport from “quidditch” to “quadball” on a worldwide basis. pic.twitter.com/8ydGtPN730
— International Quidditch Association (@IQAsport) July 19, 2022
The game is now played by nearly 600 teams in 40 countries.
The International Quidditch Association (IQA) will also be adopting the new name worldwide.
Chris Lau, the IQA board of trustees chairman, said: “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, and I personally am thrilled to be a part of it.”
USQ and MLQ will own the trademark for “quadball” in the United States and the IQA expects to enter into a licence agreement to use the term.
The trademark for “Quidditch” is owned by the Warner Brothers film and entertainment company.