"Foul!" screamed the Gryffindors.
-- during the Gryffindor v Slytherin match (PS11)
A foul is an infraction of the rules of Quidditch.
- When a player commits one of these fouls, the opposing team are awarded a penalty by the referee (QA6).
- According to Kennilworthy Whisp in his book “Quidditch Through the Ages” (QA6), the ten most common fouls are:
- The full list of possible Quidditch fouls has never been published by the Department of Magical Games and Sports as they don’t want to give Quidditch players any ideas on possible ways to foul each other (QA6).
- Many of the fouls on the Ministry’s list are now only historic, particularly since the ban on using a wand during a match came into force in 1538 (QA6).
- Examples of fouls unlikely to occur during a modern Quidditch game are (QA6, QA8):
- A player from the Bulgarian National Team committed the foul of skinning against a player on the Irish side during the 1994 Quidditch World Cup (GF8).
Notes and interesting facts:
- As the catching of the Golden Snitch is so highly scored, Seekers are more likely to be fouled than any other players on the pitch (PS10).
- Professor McGonagall was considered to be a very talented Quidditch player before a nasty fall caused serious injuries during her final year at Hogwarts. The fall occurred because of a foul committed during that year's Gryffindor versus Slytherin game (Pm).
- The Slytherin v Gryffindor Quidditch Cup final, won by Gryffindor with Harry Potter as their Seeker during his third year at Hogwarts, was particularly full of ill-tempered fouling incidents (PA15).
- Fouls and their awarded penalty shots, often take place during the Quidditch World Cup and league matches - due to the fast and furious nature of such games (GF8, QA6, Pm).
In sports situations, the word 'foul' means an unfair or illegal play or to commit a such an offence against an opponent. (Oxford English Dictionary: foul)