What is quidditch?

Quidditch is a mixed gender contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag. A quidditch team is made up of seven athletes who play with brooms between their legs at all times. While the game can appear chaotic to the casual observer, once familiar with the basic rules, quidditch is an exciting sport to watch and even more exciting to play.

Three chasers score goals worth 10 points each with a volleyball called the quaffle. They advance the ball down the field by running with it, passing it to teammates, or kicking it. Each team has a keeper who defends the goal hoops. Two beaters use dodgeballs called bludgers to disrupt the flow of the game by “knocking out” other players. Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they touch their own goals. Each team also has a seeker who tries to catch the snitch. The snitch is a ball attached to the waistband of the snitch runner, a neutral athlete in a yellow uniform who uses any means to avoid capture. The snitch is worth 30 points and its capture ends the game. If the score is tied after the snitch catch, the game proceeds into overtime.

Credit: US Quidditch

During play, players are forbidden from taking certain actions, or fouls. Players who commit fouls face different consequences depending on the severity of the offense. A back to hoops foul indicates that a player must stop and return to their hoops, as though knocked out. A yellow card indicates that a player must spend one minute in the penalty box. A red card indicates that a player is barred from the rest of the game.

The Gender Maximum Rule

During a game, a team may not have more than four players who identify as the same gender in play. The gender that a player identifies as is considered to be that player’s gender. This is referred to as the gender maximum rule. Quidditch Europe accepts those who don’t identify within the binary gender system and acknowledges that not all of our players identify as male or female.

Quidditch within Europe

The first quidditch team within Europe got started in 2009, four years after the first ever team got started in Middlebury in the United States. Three years later, in 2012, the sport had began to develop across Europe, and its first proper international tournaments for club teams took place in France under the name European Quidditch Championship. Since then, both this international tournament and the European quidditch scene in general have seen tremendous growth.

The European Quidditch Championship has grown to become the European Quidditch Cup, Europe’s flagship event for club teams. More information about (the history of) the tournament can be found here.

Across Europe, quidditch is currently played by more than 5,000 players from nearly 300 teams spread over 24 countries. European quidditch is also showing steady growth, with established countries expanding their number of teams, and teams being set up in new countries every year.