By Lindsay Garten
On Nov. 1, 2017, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) announced that the organization’s marquee event would be hosted in Florence, Italy. This will mark the third major tournament Italy has held, as it has previously hosted European Quidditch Cup 2016 and European Games 2015. The 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup will be held from June 27 through July 2, 2018 in partnership with the City of Florence in conjunction with the Human Company, a travel company that will organize the administrative side of the tournament, at fields adjacent to Stadio Artemio Franchi which can accommodate approximately five pitches.
Rebecca Alley, executive director of the IQA, noted that Florence stood out because of its history, beauty, accessibility and the support from the IQA’s event partners.
“Having our opening ceremonies in a historic Piazza [sic], and being able to have our athletes play at the highest level of the sport in the heart of an international hub like Florence, is an incredible opportunity both for our athletes and volunteers who will truly make World Cup what it can be, and for raising the profile of the sport,” Alley wrote in a statement.
Whilst past events have been held at large sports venues on the edge of the city, the pitches at Stadio Artemio Franchi are accessible by public transportation and located close to the heart of Firenze, or Florence in English.
“We feel [that having the pitches close to the center of the city is] an exciting change that will make it easier for our athletes to get to the venue, and easier for spectators to find us, even if they’ve never heard of quidditch,” Alley wrote in a statement. “We are also going to be seeing an unparallelled level of support from the City [sic] itself and their media team, who are making a huge effort to bring the IQA World Cup 2018 to the wider sports world.”
“As a center of history, culture and art, Florence is set to support athletes and participants, with the support of the City [sic] aiding the stay of the nations attending,” the IQA wrote. “To coincide with the competition, the Cultural Department of the City of Florence will be organising lectures and special side events in the main historical libraries and other places of cultural interest in town, for all age groups.”
“I am delighted that the enchanting City of Florence has offered to host the 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup in partnership with the IQA and Human Company,” Nicholas Oughtibridge, chair of the IQA board of trustees, wrote in a statement. “Florence has led European culture, challenged norms, and inspires a better future. The city is a natural host for our mixed gender contact sport.”
The IQA noted that 31 countries are expected to attend and that it will be the biggest tournament in quidditch history with 500 players expected to compete, although both European Quidditch Cup and US Quidditch Cup have hosted more teams and players.
In a release to the Quidditch Post, the IQA clarified how this tournament will be the largest in quidditch history.
“What we mean is its scope,” the IQA wrote. “The competition is likely to have the most nations attending a single quidditch event, and it is a once in every two year celebration of the sport internationally. By biggest, we mean in terms of media presence, general awareness among the non-quidditching public, and among NGBs.”
According to the IQA, cities in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Australia, Belgium, and Italy all bid for the 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup. As of publication, the IQA has not announced which cities bid for World Cup. According to various French publications, Lille, France bid for the 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup. Additionally, on Oct. 6, 2017, US Quidditch tweeted that two cities in the US, Madison, Wisconsin and Tri-Valley, California (a region of California about 18 miles from San Francisco), bid for the event. Although these cities were not chosen for the 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup, US Quidditch remains hopeful that the IQA’s marquee event will soon be held in the US.
“We were excited to see the interest from several of our partner cities in the United States and work with them on submitting bids for the event,” Sarah Woolsey, executive director of US Quidditch, wrote in a statement. “While a US city was not ultimately selected for the 2018 event, we hope to continue to work with our partners and the IQA in the future to bring an IQA World Cup event to the US.”
Out of the 31 countries the IQA expects to attend, 10 have not attended past World Cups. The list of countries include Peru, which ran an unsuccessful international fundraising campaign for the 2016 IQA Quidditch World Cup and ultimately did not attend. Additionally, it includes countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina, who have never attended an IQA World Cup (previously called Global Games and the IQA Summer Games), and are unlikely to attend the event in Florence. Notably, the Czech Republic and Denmark, who have competed internationally in Europe, were left off the list.
According to the IQA, the following is a list of countries hoping to attend the 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup
- United Kingdom
- United States
Asia & Oceania
- New Zealand
- South Korea