Real-life quidditch was created on a sunny Sunday afternoon in 2005 by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, students at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA. Their idle Sunday pastime laid the foundations for the full contact and gender inclusive sport played today. They began playing regular intramural games, and in 2007 played the first intercollegiate match.

2008 saw a 12 team World Cup championship, featuring a team from McGill University in Quebec, Canada, the first non-US competitor the sport had seen. As more schools created teams and media outlets began to take notice, it was clear that the sport needed more formal governance. The IQA, which also functioned as the US organizing body, was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2010.

In 2011, the IQA organized World Cup V in New York City, a 96-team tournament boasting competitors from the US, Canada, Finland, and over 10,000 ticketed spectators. The same year, the newly formed Australian Quidditch Association organized its first major tournament and the first such event outside of North America, the QUAFL Cup, in New South Wales.

In 2012, the IQA hosted national teams from the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Australia in Oxford, England for the Summer Games, a biennial tournament, now called World Cup, showcasing the talents of the best players from around the world, which occurred alongside a torch ceremony for the London Olympics. This tournament spurred interest and growth in quidditch across Europe, and national organizations governing the sport sprang up around the world.

As quidditch grew, more international governance was needed outside of the USA. A new, truly international IQA was born in 2014 when the IQA split from US Quidditch. Since then, the IQA has worked to ensure equitable representation and development in all corners of the globe.