Institute chairman Bill Anderson has revealed that he believes the 2019/2020 Irish League season will soon be called to a close by the football authorities, adding they have no other option.
With restrictions relating to the gathering of crowds in place due to the coronavirus pandemic and unlikely to be lifted any time soon, Anderson says it would not be financially viable for Irish League clubs to play games behind closed doors and says that it is only a matter of time before the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) call an end to the current season.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Anderson said: "My initial feelings were it made sense for NIFL as a group to stick with the UEFA driven viewpoint to try and complete all games and to bring the season to a natural conclusion.
"Over the last 10 days I have been coming to the conclusion that will not be possible. NIFL will probably get to that point very soon. The information I am receiving from other chairmen is they are very much of the same thinking as me.
"UEFA are asking for an outline by May 25 from each Association how they are going to complete their season. They are also asking that should include completion by July 20. That is looking unobtainable."
Should that be the case serious issues will need to be addressed such as the title race, European places, promotion and relegation.
We have a good product here that is good value for money and it would be a wise thing to keep all your clubs having their heads above water.
With seven games left Linfield lead the Premiership by four points from Coleraine with Crusaders, Cliftonville, Glentoran and Larne all in European contention in the league.
At the bottom Institute are three points behind Warrenpoint while in the Championship Portadown's lead is six points over Ballinamallard, who have a game in hand, with Loughgall a further two points adrift. Ballymena, Coleraine, Cliftonville and Glentoran remain in the Irish Cup.
However, Anderson says the Irish League will not be dominated by fall-outs, accusations, claims and counter claims like Scottish football when those tough decisions have to be made.
Anderson says: "Across Europe variations range from a straightforward null and void decision where the season is completely scrapped to promotion, relegation, both, neither and restructuring. Nothing is off the table.
"If you have watched the Scottish leagues and developments there it has been painful. There is a lot of acrimony and bad blood between clubs and between clubs and the Scottish FA. I believe we are not like that.
"We have a group of clubs and chairmen who, in the main, are mutually supportive and co-operative so I have a feeling that will be something that stands by us when we get to a point where we are making difficult decisions.
"What we have agreed as an organisation is that there are guiding principles which determine how we make decisions."
The primary factor in NIFL's guiding principles is health and well-being. Anderson is honest enough to say he does not believe, unlike in Germany and England, the money is there to test players for Civid-19 in the top league in Northern Ireland.
Anderson adds: "The second principle is sporting integrity. Everyone believes we should maintain that, and the third is the financial viability of clubs.
"I don't think any club in Northern Ireland can play matches behind closed doors because 80% of our income comes from gate money.
"Are you going to ask players to play for nothing if you can't pay them or are you going to pay players and put the club in debt? It won't work playing behind closed doors.
"We have a good product here that is good value for money and it would be a wise thing to keep all your clubs having their heads above water.
"The final thing is that no club should be advantaged or disadvantaged given this is nobody's fault.
"I don't think it would be helpful to put the UEFA deadline of May 25 back in deciding if the season should be extended as our situation won't change.
"Once the decision is made you can talk about UEFA representation, promotion, relegation etc and you would have more time and less pressure with those discussions.
"I am a firm believer that the decision making process is enhanced by not having to take uninformed or unexplored decisions under pressure.
"Providing the principles are adhered to we can eventually come up with a solution that will benefit football in general and ensure each club survives this disaster."
Asked about the relegation issue given Institute's position, Anderson said: "I think it would be unfair for anyone to be relegated."
Institute survived the flood in 2017 at their Riverside stadium and miraculously gained promotion to the top flight ahead of moving to the Brandywell.
Anderson says: "We have been through tough times before.
"As a club we have resilient and committed individuals.
"Only our players and coaches get paid.
"Everyone else is voluntary and we want to keep our club going through this."