|"There are plenty of eye-witness accounts. Just because you're so narrow-minded you need to have everything shoved under your nose before you–"
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DISASTROUS OPENING CEREMONY LEADS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP SECURITY was the title of a Daily Prophet article written by Ginny Potter and published on 12 April, 2014. The article covered the 2014 Quidditch World Cup Opening Ceremony. The article covered the disastrous results of a fight between the Fijian team's mascot, the Dukuwaqa, and the the Norwegian team's, the Selma.
Not a single Quaffle thrown, not a single Snitch caught, but the 427th Quidditch World Cup is already mired in controversy. Magizoologists have congregated in the desert to contain the mayhem and Healers have attended more than 300 crowd members suffering from shock, broken bones and bites. The Argentinian Council of Magic is reeling from accusations that their decision to stage a mascot-themed opening ceremony was foolish and reckless.
In the weeks leading up to the opening, an impressive ornamental lake was created in the middle of the desert to accommodate the Fijian team's Dukuwaqa (a shark/man shape-shifter). Organisers announced that mascots representing the other teams participating in the ﬁrst week’s matches would take part in a choreographed display, advertised as ‘a magnificent exhibition of the diversity of the magizoological world’.
The ceremony started in gentle style, with river Genies from the Ivory Coast dancing in formation over the surface of the lake. It was only when the Fijian and Norwegian mascots were released that disaster struck.
‘While prepared for the arrival of the Fijian Dukuwaqa, we were surprised when the Norwegian delegation announced that they would also require lake-space for a gigantic lake serpent, the Selma. We had assumed that the Norwegians would be accompanied by their usual troop of performing trolls.
‘We are not aware that any study has ever been undertaken into the compatibility of Dukuwaqas and Selmas, so the Council of Magic cannot accept liability for the unfortunate consequences of placing the two in close proximity.’
‘The Dukuwaqa lives in a warm ocean,the Selma in an icy freshwater lake. The former is a shape-shifter that can transform from fish to man, the latter is a serpent that devours human ﬂesh and fish. You would need the brains of a Billywig not to foresee an immediate bloodbath if both were crammed tightly together in tepid, brackish water.’
A bloodbath is precisely what occurred when the two monsters were released into the magical lake through gigantic crystal chutes. Fijian and Norwegian handlers plunged into the seething waters to contain their respective mascots, but their efforts were greatly hampered by the Brazilian Curupiras (red-haired, forest-dwelling dwarves whose feet point backwards and who protect fellow creatures whom they feel are under threat from humans). Evidently believing that the handlers meant the Dukuwaqa and the Selma harm, the Curupiras attacked.
With panic in the stadium and blood now flowing freely from both humans and creatures, it was perhaps understandable that the Nigerian Sasabonsams (vampiric, spindle-legged creatures) became crazed. As they wreaked havoc upon crowd and organisers, the rumour that the Haitian team had brought Inferi as their mascots was proven true. The crowd stampeded as Inferi moved freely through the stadium, attempting to capture and devour anyone who tripped.
Regulations on the size and nature of mascots have long been a source of debate at the highest levels of the ICWQC. A motion to restrict mascots ‘to herbivores, creatures smaller than a cow and nothing that breathes ﬁre’ was defeated by an overwhelming majority in 1995. Quidditch supporters worldwide have been opposed to any meddling with what they see as a traditional, colourful part of the World Cup.
However, many believe that competition among teams to bring the most intimidating mascot has got out of hand. Norwegian manager Arnulf Moe defended his decision to bring the Selma, which he said represented the ‘steely determination and ferocity of the Norwegian players’, and claimed that the Dukuwaqa bit first.
A record crowd has been transported by 10,000 Portkeys to the heart of the Patagonian Desert for the opening weekend of the tournament, and while the Argentinian Council has been widely praised for the ﬂawless transportation arrangements, the record number of injuries sustained before the ﬁrst whistle has been blown is sure to be an embarrassment to the organisers.