David Jeffrey fears the Irish Cup will lose its magic if lower-league clubs pull out - but believes it is still worth playing.
The competition has been thrown into chaos after Championship sides voted to scrap their season.
The Covid crisis means teams outside the top flight have not kicked a ball this term.
A Round of 32 - due to be played on January 9 - was postponed, and is still to be rescheduled. It leaves the competition in turmoil, with more than half of the Danske Bank Premiership season still to be factored into the schedule as well, as it stands.
Dundela boss Colin Nixon has questioned whether the Cup games can go ahead.
Ballymena United boss Jeffrey, a seven-time Irish Cup winner as Linfield manager, fears that if the Cup goes ahead as a Premiership-only tournament, or if most lower-division clubs withdraw, it will be tarnished. But he said the European place reserved for the winners means it is still worth fighting for.
"The big thing is you think about the integrity of the competition," he said. "The Irish Cup has always been about the magic of the big boys against the so-called lesser teams. I listened to Colin Nixon's interview and he talked about things from a Dundela perspective. That probably echoes right across the board.
"But it's up to others with more insight and more thoughts - it is just a difficult, difficult time.
"Is it worth playing? There is a lot riding on it. There is a European place and I think sometimes you have got to think about what the prize is and work back from there. So it is obviously worth playing for, but I think what is worth it is the European place. How is that situation managed? That is what we all want to see."
Irish FA president David Martin said they are still planning to play the Cup, and are awaiting "further updates" from the NI Executive.