"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, 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:Quidditch). 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:Wizards). 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.

If all 700 quidditch fouls are known to have occurred in the first Quidditch World Cup in 1473, doesn’t that imply that there were never new fouls introduced? That contradicts the issues with stooging, which was apparently allowed until 1884. The only explanation I can come up with is that the Department of Magical Games and Sports has kept this list and never officially updated it, since it isn’t available to the public anyway. (Grumble grumble intellectual freedom debate grumble grumble) -- AK

From the Web

Writing by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore:

Pottermore enhanced reading experience: Quidditch World Cup

Screenshots of the original Daily Prophet coverage of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup on Pottermore: Imgur archive

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Tags: brooms / broomsticks cheating errors fairness frustration match penalties Referee sportsmanship strategy tactics team violent Quidditch match

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