The Russian LGBT Sport Federation will host a conference today in Moscow designed to further discussion in both Russia and the sport of soccer about LGBTQ inclusion.

Titled “Football — A Homophobia Free Game,” the international conference takes place at The Goethe Institut in Moscow. Sadly, organizers had to endure discrimination by both a local Holiday Inn and Radisson Inn, due to the fact that they wanted to bring an LGBTQ event to their hotels. That’s when the Goethe Institut stepped up to the plate.

The day features a lunch, a closing reception and these three panel discussions:

  • LGBTQ community and fan subculture
  • My story changes football
  • Legacy of the World Cup for LGBTQ community in Russia

Organizers say the conference is supported by FIFA, among others.

Appearing on the panel about changing the sport with your story are two people from the UK: Premier League photographer Sophie Cook and English soccer referee Ryan Atkin.

“I hope that today’s conference is the start of a legacy that will see Russia begin to change and start a journey to being accepting of LGBT community and equality,” Atkin, who came out publicly last year, told Outsports. “My fears are that it will return to its previous ways once the World Cup finishes. That is why Pride in countries where we are equal are so important. To fight for our brothers and sisters.”

Other speakers hail from Germany, Canada and Russia.

The event will take place at:

The Goethe-Institut
Ленинский пр., 95А, Москва

We wish everyone associated with the event much good fortune ahead of the World Cup final between France and Croatia.

And huge kudos to Russian LGBT Sport Federation President Aleksandr Agapov for all of his hard work in putting on the conference. Previously he waved a rainbow flag throughout Russia’s opening World Cup match and helped raise the profile of the LGBTQ community. He’s a real pioneer.

You can follow the Russian LGBT Sport Federation on Facebook, on Twitter @LGBTsportRussia, or on their Web site