Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Beginner's Guide to World Cup 2016

By Andy Marmer

The Quidditch Post’s coverage of World Cup 2016 is underway, and while we hope that everyone reading this will read all of our amazing coverage, we realize that many people might not even know what World Cup is. So to help those who are wondering follow along, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to World Cup 2016.

What is World Cup 2016?
World Cup, formerly known as Global Games, is an international quidditch tournament, featuring national teams from (as of this writing) 23 countries/regions competing for the gold medal.

Ok, you said a lot in there that I didn’t understand.
Yeah, I know. Don’t worry, I’ll explain more.

Thanks. So you said this tournament was formerly known as Global Games? Why have I heard so much about past World Cups?
Great question and one that will require me to explain a great deal of history about the sport. World Cup I in 2007, the first ever intercollegiate quidditch match, featured just two teams: Vassar College and host Middlebury College, both university teams in the US. World Cup II featured 13 teams, including the Canadian team McGill University. Due to the scarcity of teams, tournaments were not common. As quidditch continued to expand, World Cup eventually became the world championship tournament, the tournament to which club teams from all over travelled, with World Cup IV in 2010 featuring upwards of 40 teams and World Cup V in 2011 more than doubling the number of teams.

In 2012, with the London Olympic Games approaching, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) decided to take advantage of the media attention surrounding the event by holding a competition featuring national teams in Oxford, United Kingdom timed to coincide with the Olympic Torch Relay. Five teams the United States, France, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom competed, with the United States winning gold over France and Australia taking bronze over Canada. This event was also the impetus for the start of UK quidditch. Interestingly, and to the disappointment of many of my editors on this article, this tournament does not have a consistent name in quidditch lore, with Global Games, Summer Games, and Olympic Expo all being used throughout its history. This 2012 tournament was the first of the tournaments we know now as World Cup.

Part of the 2012 Team UK with then-IQA Commissioner Alex Benepe | Photo Credit: Nicole Stone
In 2014, the IQA, which up to that point had governed all quidditch worldwide, fractured into numerous National Governing Bodies (NGBs). The then-IQA largely turned into US Quidditch (USQ), with NGBs sprouting up the world over to run quidditch in their respective countries or regions. While previous World Cups had been open to teams worldwide, the tournament was always hosted in the United States and was never attended by more than one non-North American team in any given year. The last such tournament was World Cup VII. After the disintegration of the IQA, USQ continued to use the World Cup name for a short time to describe its national championship. USQ World Cup 8 was the first such tournament open only to US teams (with the exception of the University of British Columbia in Canada, who received a waiver) and served as the country’s national championship. This was followed by US Quidditch Cup 9. Given the practicalities, the first seven World Cups were universally considered to be the United States championship.

Also in 2014, USQ ran Global Games 2014 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, featuring seven teams (the month prior is when the IQA became USQ, and the new IQA did not have the resources in place to host such a tournament). The five teams from the original Summer Games competed, as did newcomers Mexico and Belgium. The US again took gold, with Australia and Canada each moving up a place for silver and bronze, respectively.

Team Australia (The “Dropbears”) celebrate their win over Team Canada at the 2014 Global Games | Photo Credit: Kaleah Balcomb courtesy of UNSW Quidditch Society
Wow, that was confusing. So...World Cup 2016?
Yeah, so now we’re onto the third in a line of tournaments that features the Summer Games in 2012 and the 2014 Global Games. Third tournament, third name. Pay no attention to previous “World Cups” that tournament is now US Quidditch Cup.

Ok, I think I get the history part now, but you said National Teams?
I did indeed. Unlike most tournaments, where teams compete throughout the season with the same group of people, typically through university or community affiliations, World Cup sees each country or region put together a national team to compete against other national teams. This is the fourth such tournament after the 2012 Summer Games, 2014 Global Games, and 2015 European Games. NGBs are free to select teams as they like, though four methods seem to dominate: the countries newest to quidditch often take any player who is available and who can afford the trip, smaller countries have tryouts or a series of tryouts, some countries have compiled a standing national team that trains together throughout the year, while the largest countries have focused on video submission. Our Spotlight series will highlight how each team was selected.

I just noticed, you keep using country/region.” Why?
World Cup teams are managed by NGBs; however, an NGB need not be affiliated with a country to be recognized by the IQA. Currently, Catalonia is the only such NGB, and it will be organising a team separate from Spain that will be competing at World Cup.

Catalan team practice ahead of the IQA World Cup 2016 | Photo Credit: Jaume Miro
You’ve talked about the IQA a few times who are they?
Whereas before 2014, the IQA governed all things quidditch, now they function as more of a representative body with members of each NGB participating in the Congress to set international quidditch policy. The IQA will be hosting World Cup 2016 and has hired staff to oversee the tournament, which will be held in Frankfurt, Germany.

Who is eligible for what team?
The IQA sets policies determining the minimum eligibility to compete for a specific team, although NGBs are free to add more requirements. The requirements for this World Cup were that a player either have citizenship, have lived in the country for at least three years, have played quidditch only in that nation, or have played in the nation for the last international season. All players must be older than 16 as well.

So who will win?
Having won the past two versions of this tournament, the US is the heavy favorite; however, you’ll have to follow our coverage to find out what the Quidditch Post's staff thinks about each team's chances.

No comments:

Post a Comment