(Reuters) - Grassroots football in England will receive 180 million pounds in support funds over the next four years to aid its recovery after the COVID-19 crisis.
The grassroots game will restart on Monday following a prolonged suspension in line with the government's easing of lockdown restrictions.
To mark its resumption, the FA has launched a four-season strategy -- Survive, Revive and Thrive -- which will see funds provided to clubs to help meet their affiliation fees, as well as investment in 5,000 new pitches.
"We've been through the most traumatic period since the Second World War, but I'm convinced that football has a massive role to play in helping the nation back to its feet," James Kendall, the FA's director of football development, was quoted as saying by British media.
"The FA have been hit financially but this £180m investment demonstrates the importance of the grassroots game and how it is a real priority for us.
"Improving pitch quality is the issue that tops the list of challenges whenever we survey participants. We want to transform the pitch landscape over the next decade, with a particular focus on grass."
The FA also aims to provide equal access to the sport for girls in schools and local clubs, and recruit and retain volunteers such as coaches, referees and other administrative staff.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)