The Football Association have announced plans to invest a record £200m (€255m) into the grassroots of their sport over the next five years.
The FA have canvassed 37,000 people, the largest public consultation in their history, to help generate the new FA National Game Strategy 2008-2012.
Key to the initiative is the recruitment – and retention – of referees and coaches.
The FA are particularly keen to foster a culture of respect for officials from both players and spectators.
A statement on their official website, www.thefa.com, read: “We rely hugely on 400,000 volunteers to run the game at a local level and need to support them more.
“In addition, we will work to improve the behaviour of players and spectators - addressing the critically high numbers of referees dropping out every season because of abuse, as well as providing more support in recruiting and retaining referees.
“We will aim to provide a high-quality coaching environment for every player - whatever their age or ability. We will also put the policies and procedures in place to safeguard our young players.”
Minister for Sport in the UK Gerry Sutcliffe welcomed the announcement.
He said: “Success at the very top of the game is dependent on strong foundations at the bottom – so I am pleased that the FA are committed to improving access to the game at all levels and focusing on player development at an early age.
“I am also pleased with the FA’s plan to stamp out abusive behaviour that has no place either on or off the pitch.”