The sport of Quidditch has announced that it is to change its name to distance it from Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
The game, which was influenced by the broomstick-borne sport in the author’s novels, was first invented in the United States in 2005 but there are now hundreds of teams globally.
Governing body QuidditchUK (QUK) announced that the sport will now be known as “Quadball” which was described as a “great moment in the development of our sport, which is both symbolically and practically significant”.
Announcing the change of name on its website QUK wrote: “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.
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, the author has said she was partly motivated to speak out about transgender issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
But 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.
As well as the change of name for the sport, players will see changes such as a new name for the ball, which will be rebranded later this year.
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.
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