Wellington, FL, September 29, 2020 — World Polo League names renowned international polo professional as new head umpire, effective for the 2021 season.
By Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by ChukkerTV
The World Polo League announced today that Gaston Dorignac has accepted the position of head umpire, beginning with the 2021 Florida season. Dorignac, who lives in Madrid, is president of the Spanish Polo Referees Association, holds a category A designation from the Asociación Argentina de Polo (AAP), and is qualified to officiate at a maximum handicap level of 40 goals.
A native of Argentina, Dorignac comes from a family with a rich polo tradition, being the son of legendary 10-goaler and Argentine Open winner Gaston Dorignac. Prior to becoming an umpire, Gaston played polo professionally for 20 years, reaching a handicap of 6 goals.
Gaston’s umpiring began in 1996, officiating at up to 28 goals, and by 1999 he was umpiring in Argentina’s Triple Crown of Polo at Tortugas, Hurlingham, and Palermo. By the end of 1999, he had officiated at 7 of the 8 games played in the Argentine Open in Palermo, including the final. Today he has umpired more than 20 finals in the Triple Crown, including 6 in Palermo, as well as 8 King’s Cup finals in Madrid, 8 finals in the Puerta de Hierro, 5 Sotogrande Gold Cups and numerous international tournaments including matches in St. Tropez, Barcelona, Columbia and the Dominican Republic.
World Polo League founder Melissa Ganzi says, “We are thrilled to have an umpire of Gaston’s standing joining us as head umpire for the World Polo League. Our aim is to offer the very best in high goal polo outside of Argentina, and Gaston brings tremendous experience to the table. With his involvement, we can continue to enhance an already incredible level of play in the league.”
Says Dorignac, “After Argentina, the WPL offers the highest handicap matches in the world. Play at the 26-goal handicap is very challenging and if you take into account players like Cambiaso, Nero, McDonough, Andrade, Ulloa and the Castagnola brothers, we’re talking about an epic level. This wouldn’t be possible without the organization and effort from the WPL and I am very proud to be a part of this. It was a great feeling to participate in the WPL in 2019 and 2020, and I am honored to have been appointed Chief Umpire.”
Co-founded by Grand Champions and Aspen Valley Polo Club owner and president Melissa Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the successful World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S.
The World Polo League attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and England.
For more information and to watch the games go to www.worldpolo.org for a complete library of WPL inaugural and second season games.