The first transgender woman in the Premier League is in Russia to promote LGBT rights.

Sophie Cook, from Worthing, has made the 4,000-mile round trip to speak at a Fifa conference discussing LGBT rights and, of course, watch the England v Croatia game.

Russia has come under fire in recent years, with many LGBT people living in the country experiencing a variety of social challenges.

These were exacerbated by a 2013 anti-gay propaganda law introduced to “protect children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values”.

Sophie was watching the match and attending the conference with Alexander Agapov, the president of the Russian LGBT sport federation.

She said: “We’re going to the match and we’re very much looking forward to football coming home.

“Obviously there’s a lot that needs to be done to improve rights for LGBT people in Russia.

“It’s vitally important to show solidarity when given the opportunity y and there’s no bigger stage than the World Cup.”

Others speaking at the event include Federico Addiechi, the head for sustainability and diversity at Fifa and Ryan Atkin, the first openly gay professional referee.

The event, called Tackling Homophobia at the 2018 Fifa World Cup, has encountered numerous problems in the run up to the conference.

It is claimed the original venue, a hotel in Lesnaya, withdrew its permission when the proprietor found out about its mission to tackle LGBT issues.

The organisers’ plans to hold a charity football match in Red Square’s Fan Zone were refused after being told “there is no opportunity to have the match devoted to tackling homophobia in football”.

Despite this, Sophie told The Argus that the overall atmosphere was brilliant.

She said she had spent an “amazing afternoon” with the travelling England fans.

Sophie said: “Walking down the fan street and it’s wall to wall England fans.

“They’re were all singing Three Lions while waving flags and consuming Russia beer.”