Esteban Ostojich: from indoor soccer to the Copa América final, respecting a family tradition in refereeing

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Esteban Ostojich: from indoor soccer to the Copa América final, respecting a family tradition in refereeing

The Uruguayan Esteban Ostojich has had great growth in recent years, being international since 2016 and having been appointed to referee this Saturday the final of the Copa América between Argentina and Brazil. Respecting a great family tradition, this 39-year-old judge expelled Alexis Mac Allister in the 2020 Pre-Olympic and Jonathan Maidana in the 2021 Libertadores, and called the 2020 Club World Cup final between Bayern Munich and Tigres.

In the department of San José, Esteban is not the one who will direct the final of the Copa América, nor the referee who directed the first Uruguayan classic between Peñarol and Nacional that was played at the Campeón del Siglo stadium, nor the judge who was in the 2020 Club World Cup final between Bayern Munich and Tigres. In San José, Esteban is the son of ‘Cono’ and María, he is the former Universal soccer player who was expelled very often and who at age 21 went, like so many, to try his luck in Montevideo, although in his case , as a referee.

“I grew up in a soccer family, with my mother from Ecilda Paullier playing soccer. Dad also played and was a referee; As a child I had arbitration meetings at my house, all that ceremony prior to going to a soccer field. All that willingness to train after 8 hours of work that my dad had. I saw all that and they are things that I take as an example ”, Ostojich commented in May 2019 in an interview with the website

But it is not that the arbitration caught him from the first moment, no. First it was to play in Universal, where the referees expelled him followed by his character. Very temperamental footballer who played to the limit ‘, This is how Ostojich defines himself, who in 2003 decided to try his luck in arbitration and travel to Montevideo to take the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) course.

His father, Cono Ostojich, was a great soccer referee in the interior and even, in some canteen of the sports clubs that make up the OFI (Interior Soccer Organization) championship, good references of his refereeing and even some controversy can be found Very old, always with the confidence and respect that she transmitted in each decision.

“The arbitration was making me fall in love. Even my lifestyle changed. Be neat aesthetically, be well dressed, be punctual, respectful, look into your eyes when you speak. All that is needed to be a referee and I turn that over to the human side … I fell in love, today I can’t imagine my life without refereeing. The most beautiful thing is making constant decisions ”, confessed in the aforementioned note Ostojich, whose one of his grandparents was also a referee.

Knowing how to capitalize on that family tradition, listening to advice and not having that heritage as an extra pressure, he made his debut in the First Division of Uruguayan soccer on September 1, 2013. As of 2016 he is a FIFA international referee and had a surprisingly upward career.

“He is a very serious, capable, responsible person with great humility,” described former referee Javier Bentancor in dialogue with He added: “He worked hard to get where he got, perhaps a few years ago it was unthinkable that he would accomplish so many goals, but he did it and did it by his own effort. It is surprising because there were other referees, when he was promoted to international they were Andrés Cunha, Daniel Ferdorczuk, Christian Ferreyra, he started well from the bottom. He had to make a name for himself and on that list of internationals there were Uruguayan referees with a lot of weight ”.

In December 2015, Ostojich refereed the final for the third and last promotion to the First Division of the Uruguayan Championship between Rampla Juniors and Cerro Largo; in August 2016 he had his first game in the Copa Sudamericana (Sol de América vs Wilstermann for the first phase); In April 2017 he made his debut in the Copa Libertadores (in Gremio’s triumph over Iquique by 3 to 2 in the Group stage), and he refereed his first classic between Peñarol and Nacional in August 2017.

“He began to have increasingly demanding matches and he was responding. In this 2021, the CONMEBOL arbitration Commission gave him this opportunity to go to the Cup, to be in the opening match and then with his performances in the tournament he won this final with other very important referees from all over America, he achieved it based on their performances ”, stressed Bentancor, who remarked that Ostojich was able, over the years, to stop being ‘hot’ when it comes to refereeing and now have tranquility and poise as his great virtues.

In 2018, the San José-born man led a South American semifinal and was a member of the VAR that advised Cunha in the final of the Copa Libertadores in Madrid between Boca and River. The following year, he whistled Eighths in the Libertadores and the first Uruguayan classic that was played at the Campeón del Siglo stadium, and was fourth official in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Argentina in the Copa América semifinals, where the judge The main one was the Ecuadorian Roddy Zambrano.

In 2020, he participated in the Under 23 Olympic Qualification which was played in Colombia, being the main referee in Argentina’s victory by 2 to 1 over the local team (goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Adolfo Gaich), expelling Mac Allister at minute 87 for double yellow.

In the 2020 Libertadores, he refereed eight games, highlighting the first leg for the quarterfinals between Racing and Boca, and the rematch of the semifinal between Palmeiras and River, which was played in January of this 2021 and that the millionaire team won by 2 to 0 in Brazil. The cast of Marcelo Gallardo was eliminated by falling in the overall result by 3 to 2; In that match, the shortlist headed by Ostojich annulled Gonzalo Montiel’s 3-0 at the request of the VAR and, minutes later, he was charged a penalty in favor of the Millionaire, but again the assistance from the booth marked a previous offside.

In February this year, the Uruguayan participated in the Club World Cup, refereeing the match for the second round between Tigres from Mexico and Ulsan from South Korea, and the final that Bayern Munich won 1-0 against the Aztec team.

This referee, who for the Qualifiers heading to Qatar refereed the 2-0 of Chile over Peru in November 2020 and the 2-1 of the Inca team over Ecuador last June, has whistled seven matches of the Libertadores 2021, being the last of them was the triumph of Fluminense 3 to 1 against River at the Monumental, expelling Jonathan Maidana in the 67th minute for an elbow to Caio Paulista when the game was stopped and when the Brazilians were already defeating by 2 to 0.

In this current edition of the Copa América, the 39-year-old Uruguayan who dreams of going to a World Cup has already refereed the opening match (Brazil’s 3-0 win over Venezuela), Peru’s 2-1 victory over Colombia, also for group B, and the Quarterfinal match between Peru and Paraguay, where he expelled Gustavo Gómez from the Guaraní cast at the end of the first half and fired the Peruvian André Carrillo at 85 ‘(Ricardo Gareca’s cast achieved the classification by winning the penalties after drawing 3 to 3 in the 90 ‘).

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