"Foul!" screamed the Gryffindors.
-- during the Gryffindor v Slytherin match (PS11)
According to Kennilworthy Whisp in his book Quidditch Through the Ages, there are seven hundred recorded ways to commit a foul in Quidditch, all of which occurred in the World Cup match held in 1473 between Transylvania and Flanders. 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).
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).
Ten most common fouls
Fouls unlikely in a modern match
transfiguration of a player into an animal
using a sword to decapitate another player
the release of dangerous animals to attack players from the opposing team
trying to destroy an opponent’s broom
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).
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). 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).
Professor McGonagall was considered to be a very talented Quidditch player before a nasty fall caused serious injuries during her final year at Hogwarts, thanks to a foul committed during that year's Gryffindor versus Slytherin game (Pm). It is no wonder she wants to beat Slytherin every time Gryffindor plays them.
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). It gives Harry one of his happiest memories to conjure a Patronus with.
From the Web
Writing by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore:
- History of the Quidditch World Cup
- 2014 Quidditch World Cup reports
- 2014 Quidditch World Cup final
- The Daily Prophet
Pottermore enhanced reading experience: Quidditch World Cup
Screenshots of the original Daily Prophet coverage of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup on Pottermore: Imgur archive