WWC 2013: First Finn To Ever Referee A WC Final

Anni Tähtinen is going to be the first Finnish referee to judge WC final. Tonight when USA and Canada will meet at the WWC2013 final, Anni is going to be the leader of the officials on the field.

Anni started as a player, but after one and a half games she got injured which ended her playing career.
- Even though it was one and a half games, American football had won me over. I wanted to do something for the sport and being an official sounded fascinating to me. Being a referee sounded unrealistic back then. Now I’ve been a football official for nine seasons. Last season I became a referee and the first woman referee in the Vaahteraliiga, the main men’s league in Finland.

She started as an official in Vaahteraliiga back in 2006. She was also involved with the WWC2010 three years ago and was pointed to be a referee, even though at the time she didn’t know if she was ready for it. She took the challenge on. She didn’t come to the games feeling as a referee, but left home as one.
- I got to learn. I grew into the role.

Now three years later she has come a full circle. About tonight’s final she says it’s a dream come true.
- It’s something I could have ever imagined. It’s a dream, I’m so proud. I can use everything I have learned, use all the tips from my career and I get to grow as a referee.

USA the reigning world champion will meet Canada at ISS Stadium tonight at 7pm. Finland plays at the bronze game against Germany in the earlier game at 3pm.