Ministry of Magic and the Wizard's Council Quidditch Wizarding Culture

Quidditch World Cup

"Not a single Quaffle thrown, not a single Snitch caught, but the 427th Quidditch World Cup is already mired in controversy."
-- Ginny Weasley, the Daily Prophet (QWC)

Quidditch World Cup

The Quidditch World Cup is an international Quidditch competition held every four years. The first Quidditch World Cup was held in 1473, with the final match being Transylvania v Flanders (PS11, QA8).

The 1994 World Cup was held in Devon in a new stadium built on Dartmoor (GF6). The final match was Bulgaria v Ireland (GF8). Twenty years later in 2014, the 427th Quidditch World Cup took place in the Patagonian desert of Argentina and the final match was played between Bulgaria and Brazil (QWC). Harry Potter attended both of these matches.

Hand holding the golden snitch.

Regulation and arrangements

The history of the Quidditch World Cup tournament is set out in ‘The Official Guide to the Quidditch World Cup‘, which is published by the International Confederation of Wizards Quidditch Committee (ICWQC), who oversee and regulate the tournament. They also enforce a large number and complicated set of rules about the use of magic both on and off the pitch.

The arrangements for the tournament are a “logistical nightmare”, particularly since 1692 when the International Statute of Secrecy came into force. Although the International Confederation of Wizards (ICW) thought the Quidditch World Cup was too much of a security risk to keep running, the popularity of the sport and outcry from wizards around the world meant that they were obliged to reconsider, and the ICWQC was formed to regulate the four-yearly event. It is considered “a task generally agreed to be among the most thankless and difficult in the wizarding world” (QWC).

“….no dragon is to be introduced into the stadium for any purpose including, but not limited to, team mascot, coach or cup warmer.”
— from the 19-volume rulebook for the Quidditch World Cup (QWC)


Any country able to put together a national Quidditch team is able to enter the World Cup draw. During this stage, the teams are divided into 16 groups who play each other over a two-year period until there is a single winner in each group. The general rules for these games are:

  • game length is a maximum of four hours
  • games where the Snitch hasn’t been caught within four hours will be decided on the final goal score total
  • a win in the group phase earns the team 2 points
  • a win by more than 50 points earns an additional 1 point
  • a win by more than 100 points earns an additional 3 points
  • a win by more than 150 points earns an additional 5 points
  • in case of a tie at the top of the group, the winners will be the team who caught the Snitch most often (or quickest) during their matches.

The 16 qualifying teams from the group phase then enter the “knock-out” stage playoffs. The team with the highest number of points plays the team with the lowest number etc, until the last two teams left battle it out in the final game (QWC).

These qualifying matches take place over several months, with the final match falling in July, as in 2014 (QWC) or August, as in 1994 (GF8).

Past controversies

A Quidditch World Cup is always entertaining and newsworthy. Some famous (or infamous) tournaments were:

Sign of Dark Mark above Quidditch World Cup.

Notes and interesting facts

There is some inconsistency in dates surrounding the World Cup. In GF8, Ludo Bagman welcomes everyone to the "four hundred and twenty second Quidditch World Cup". However, Quidditch through the Ages and Pottermore (QWC) both set forth the history of the World Cup competition and say that the Cup was first held in 1473, and held every 4 years since. That means that the Cup had been held around 130 times by 1994. Not even close to 422.

Also, if the Cup has been held every four years from 1473, then 1993 and 1997 would have been Cup-years, not 1994. However, the Quidditch World Cup of 1877 is known as The Tournament That Nobody Remembers because, for reasons unknown, no one has any recollection of the matches taking place (though they undoubtedly did). Therefore, the Tournament was re-staged in 1878, and from then on the World Cup was held every four years from the new date (QWC).

At least the 2014 Quidditch World Cup is the 427th Cup-year if you are counting from the tournament that was held in 1994 (GF8, QWC).

Table of Contents



Related images:

Bulgaria vs Ireland! VIP Box QWC 2014    Hand holding the golden snitch.   Students window-shopping for Firebolt brooms.

The Muggle sport of football (US 'soccer') has a similar competition, the "FIFA World Cup". This is also held every four years, but has only been in place since 1938. Prior to that time, international football matches were played, but earliest on record is 1872 between Scotland and England, well after the first Quidditch World Cup in 1473 (Wikipedia).

When the 2014 Quidditch World Cup matches were published on Pottermore, it was called the "427th Quidditch World Cup" (QWC), so the mystery about dates persists....

Lexicon timeline of Quidditch

Lexicon list of World Quidditch teams

From the Web

WizardingWorld.com (Pottermore) features:

Writing by J K Rowling on Imgur (Daily Prophet coverage of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, originally from Pottermore):

Harry Potter Wiki: Quidditch World Cup

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