IQA Annual Report: We analysed it for you

By Austin Wallace

The International Quidditch Association has released its first annual report since it split off from US Quidditch in 2014. The tone of the report is fresh for the IQA: while it is optimistic overall, it openly and publicly acknowledges faults, shortcomings, and the presence of systemic issues in the organisation. The full version can be accessed here. In addition, the minutes from the meetings of the Board of Trustees have been released.

Finances

What was said:

  • The IQA currently has 34,000 euros in assets on hand
    • This includes money that may be spent fulfilling perks related to the Uganda fundraiser
  • The majority of that money is in a bank account in Canada, held by Rebecca Alley (Executive Director) and Brian Gallaway (President of the Congress)
  • Approximately 4,200 euros are in a separate PayPal and bank account in Belgium managed by the European Committee
  • The IQA generated 20,005 euros in profit from World Cup 2016
    • 41,324 euros in income, with 28,243 euros coming from spectators
    • 21,319 euros in expenditures
  • The IQA plans to spend money on legal fees and subsidizing European Games 2017 among other expenses
  • The IQA has no financial director. Until a financial director is approved, the Board of Trustees will control the IQA’s financial policies.

What was left unsaid:

While having 30,000+ euros in liquid assets would be nothing for any other major international governing body, the IQA is unique: it is unincorporated and run entirely by volunteers. Currently, the IQA holds the money it has received from World Cup and the Uganda fundraiser in a bank account at the Royal Bank of Canada. The previous financial director, Alexander “Jerry” Dokuchaev, resigned after taking account of the finances from World Cup. A new financial director needs to be hired, and it is not clear what the IQA intends to do with all of the money it has accumulated.

Team Australia celebrates winning the 2016 World Cup | Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography

International Governing Body, Board of Trustees

What was said:

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Commonwealth Games Federation and SportAccord are open to quidditch joining them
  • Elite athletes are ready for increased scrutiny that would come from membership in those organisations; however, the IQA or NGBs are not ready for the increased scrutiny, and have a long way to go before being ready to join the above federations

What was left unsaid:

What does scrutiny mean in this context? What are the conditions for quidditch joining these organisations? While in general these federations generally leave internal governance to the participating sport, it is unclear exactly what that means in the context of quidditch. It’s not unreasonable to think that joining these organisations could lead to more stringent drug testing for national teams or some changes to the gender rule and if that’s the case, are these moves in the best interest of the sport?

Interestingly, there is no mention of the departure of Chris Daw from the organisation. Or, indeed, of Daw anywhere in the document. Previously Chair of the Board of Trustees, Daw was one of the main architects behind the bid to become incorporated as a charity. Though the IQA claimed he had left a lasting mark on the organisation, the lack of mention suggests that internally the IQA may not have had as cohesive a relationship as it projected outwardly. Intriguingly, the Board meeting where Daw announced his resignation is also the only one that lacks any public meeting minutes on the new IQA website. It is not a stretch to connect the dots: There may be more to Daw leaving the IQA than ‘personal reasons.’

Uganda and the Development Fund

What was said:

  • The handling of the funds was poor
  • The IQA still does not know how much money will be in the fund
  • The IQA still does not know how much it will cost to fulfill the perks from the fundraiser that was held last summer
  • Money will be separate from main assets, for charitable purposes

What was left unsaid:

The relevant information was stated, but it is worth emphasizing that the fundraiser took place during the summer of 2016, prior to World Cup 2016. During the 2017 offseason, the IQA continues to have trouble fulfilling the perks promised from the fundraiser due to lost information from a transition of volunteers who were overseeing the process with SAVAGE Ultimate. The IQA accepted a large part of the responsibility for these difficulties, but also mentioned issues in communicating with external partners. According to an IQA volunteer, volunteers were not informed about the status of the Uganda perks.

Constitution and Incorporation

What was said:

  • The IQA did not meet requirements to become an incorporated charity in the UK in August 2016
  • The trustees have decided that requirements for incorporation should be decided by Congress
  • The constitution committee consists of: Mary Kimball (USQ Membership Director), Chula Bruggeling (QNL President), Merryn Christian (Congress); and Board of Trustees members: Nicholas Oughtibridge, Nicole Hammer and Brian Gallaway
  • The committee has not met at all due to logistical issues

What was left unsaid:

Why has the committee not met? In the nine months since the IQA’s application as charity was rejected, has any progress been made on incorporation? It is unknown how insurmountable the logistical issues were; however this is a strong indicator that the IQA does not highly value becoming incorporated in the short term. As an unincorporated entity, the IQA’s legal situation is murky, meaning that the IQA may not even be aware of the risk associated with certain decisions.

Rules

What was said:

Jill Staniec – perhaps best known as the Membership Coordinator for Quidditch Canada – was appointed chair of the Rules Committee in February 2016. That committee is still working toward developing a global rulebook. Changes to the rulebook are proposed to come every two years (in alignment with the World Cup schedule). The committee began to field suggestions for potential rule changes in April of that year, and received a total of 29 proposals from the NGBs, the Referee Development Team, and the Board of Trustees. The rulebook was approved in August and released on September 12, 2016. Here are some of the highlights of what was approved and declined, with all 29 available in the document.

Approved:

  • Timeouts added
  • Maximum of 12 people of one gender on a roster, with a recommended grace period of a year with 14 players
  • Allowing metal cleats
  • Standardized snitch handicaps
  • Maximum length of fingernails

Declined:

  • Two hand tackling/wrapping
  • Mandating maximum time on pitch by lines/players
  • Injured players (if play is stopped) cannot return until at least 1 minute of play passes
  • Speaking captain protests limited to 30 seconds
  • Remove blue cards

Interestingly enough, even with the potential for a unified, concise document, was not adopted by several quidditch bodies, including US Quidditch, Quidditch UK, and Quidditch Canada. The committee hasn’t met since then since “general feeling was that it was only adding to confusion to have multiple rulebooks maintained entirely separately from each other.”

What was left unsaid:

The rulebook obviously was not received with great enthusiasm from the rest of the world and it is worth examining potentially contributing factors. The biggest issue, as stated in the report, was the timeframe for developing the rulebook. That being said, it is the IQA’s fault that the rulebook was to be developed over a short time period without enough time to complete the document; even if external factors made it more difficult to start earlier, any slowing by internal bureaucracy and politics lie at the feet of the IQA and its volunteers.

Another issue is that the goals of the IQA are unlikely to be exactly aligned with NGBs, and they have little power to force their NGBs to fall in line. This is maybe seen most obviously with the roster-level gender rule, where beginning this year the IQA mandated a maximum of 12 people of one gender be on the roster for any game. For a team with a 21-person roster, playing with 12 of one gender is the natural extrapolation of playing continuously with four out of seven people being of one gender. For the vast majority of most games though, quidditch is played with six players, and extrapolating the ratio of four max out of six, suggests that a 14 person of one gender maximum.

IQA will need USQ on board for any attempt of an internationally accepted rulebook | Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography

Regardless of the content of a rulebook, international politics will make it difficult to standardize one rulebook for all member NGBs. USQ specifically has a dedicated rules team and it does not seem to want to stop releasing rulebooks they have full control over, rulebooks which have been the standard in international quidditch for years. Until USQ gets on board with an IQA rulebook, Quidditch Canada has a valid reason to meld the two, and that reduces pressure on Quidditch Australia to conform as a relatively isolated country. In the medium term, it may be unrealistic to expect that all leagues will conform completely, but there is a precedent in other sports for an equilibrium close to what we have now: One rulebook to govern international play, with minor-moderate variations governing each league.

New Members/Expansion

What was said:

  • NGBs are separated into three tiers: full, developing, and emerging
  • All full NGBs get a vote in congress, or up to three votes for an NGB with at least 2,000 members
  • Switzerland, South Korea, and New Zealand have been added as emerging regions
  • Ireland, Sweden, Uganda, and Peru have been upgraded to developing NGBs
  • Poland and Spain have been upgraded to full NGB status

What was left unsaid:

Even as worries over stagnation in the United States continue to grow stronger, it is encouraging to see the development of quidditch in more and more countries. Giving Poland and Spain votes in congress shifts the balance of power even more strongly toward Europe. At this point, Europe has 16 votes in congress, North America has six, and Australia has two. USQ is the only NGB with three votes; however, that is nowhere near representative of the proportion of players they represent. Currently, the IQA does not represent equally among continents, nor proportionally by players. Given the outsized importance of North America in the previous incarnation of the IQA, there is likely little appetite for change in that regard.

World Cup 2016

What was said:

  • 1,300 paid spectators at the event
  • 30,000 unique viewers online
  • 35,000 views of posts on the Facebook page during July
  • English language coverage from multiple news outlets
  • Expo games created buzz

What was left unsaid:

While the event ran smoothly on the days of, there was uncertainty in the buildup to, and aftermath of, World Cup 2016. There is little to no mention of the off-pitch controversies surrounding World Cup.

Screenshot of the new IQA website

Website

What was said:

  • Do not have access to iqaquidditch.org
  • Originally believe it was hacked
  • The website was transferred from the IQA’s former Technology Manager into an unknown party’s hands through an auction
  • New website, iqasport.org

What was not said:

This is not a normal occurrence for any relatively important organisation, and indicates poor management by the IQA. Having the Technology Manager be the only person with top-level administrative access is a significant misstep, even when it doesn’t end as badly as it has in the IQA’s case. Control of the domain should have always been in the hands of the trustees or executive director. As it stands, the IQA has no control over the www.iqaquidditch.org domain, cannot take it down, and cannot effectively warn people about any revenue generating links present on the site. Through the trustee minutes, the IQA has hinted at litigation against the former volunteer, and has attempted to exert public pressure on them.

Without a website under its control, the IQA fasttracked the release of its new website on the www.iqasport.org domain. From the basic layout, to the barely differentiated colours of green for section headers and links, it readily admits that this is not a fully finished site. It will be important to the IQA to put up a strong public face, while making sure its branding and content are quickly removed from the previous domain.

Conclusion

The IQA Annual Report presents both positives and negatives. The IQA is making strides by presenting this relatively full and honest account of where it stands. There are still unanswered questions and substantial issues that the IQA will have to deal with going forward. This report, along with the release of the Board of Trustee minutes on the website, show that the IQA is starting to open its doors and trying to welcome in the community. Like the community survey stated, the quidditch community wants more transparency. These are just glimpses into the IQA and, while they do not fix the organisation, this is the most thorough overview on the state of the current IQA to date.

David Sager and Nathan Ross contributed reporting.

Editor’s Note: After publication IQA Executive Director Rebecca Alley has informed us that the IQA is pursuing a DMCA takedown of the former IQA domain name.

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