England fan and LGBT+ rights campaigner Di Cunningham displays a rainbow flag before England's first World Cup match. [AFP|Getty Images]
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Di Cunningham of Three Lions Pride says she is pleased that she has come to Russia to support England at the World Cup.

Cunningham is one of the founders of the Three Lions Pride group, an LGBT supporters association who have the backing of the FA.

MPs warned prior to the tournament that LGBT+ supporters face additional risks in Russia because of the country’s attitudes to homosexuality, and Cunningham previously said she was ‘fearful’ of displaying her ‘3 Lions Pride’ rainbow banner.

But ahead of Sunday’s match with Panama, Cunningham told Sky Sports: “We had a brilliant time in Volgograd [for the Tunisia match], fantastically dramatic game and also we managed to fly our banner, wear our scarves.

“It was a bit of a problem getting the banner in but we got it in and we have had a brilliant time. The Russian people have been really welcoming.

“The food is great, the weather is great, beautiful countryside and fantastic host cities – certainly, the ones I have been to.

“It has been brilliant, certainly a vindication of our decision to come.”

However, Cunningham – who is chair of Pride in Football (PiF), the UK alliance for groups of fans across all leagues who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – pointed out that her experiences may not be familiar to Russian LGBT supporters.

She added: “I would still say we were right to be anxious, and right to be cautious, and we need to continue to be cautious.

“We have been the guests of the embassy this morning in Nizhny with Greg Clarke (FA chairman). We met some people from the local LGBT+ community and they have been telling us about their lives.

“They are so different from our lives. It is really impossible here to be out, it is impossible to be openly affectionate in public.

“It is a different world and we were right to be cautious.”

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