Danske Bank Premiership clubs have decided that next season will not start unless their grounds are allowed to be half full of spectators.
Club chiefs insist the domestic game cannot be played without fans and will only go ahead if supporters totalling 50% of the official ground safety capacity can gain entry at each stadium.
The NI Executive on Thursday stated that limited numbers of outdoor spectators will be allowed to attend games from July 17 - and that means we could see fans at the Irish Cup semi-finals and final. However, clubs accept it's not financially feasible for the league campaign to go ahead unless supporters are allowed in, in sufficient numbers.
While the 50% capacity is irrelevant at Windsor Park, the home of Linfield, it does hold significance for other clubs.
Crusaders, for example, would need to be allowed to have around 1,800 attend a game at Seaview.
Glenavon's 50% capacity figure for Mourneview Park would be around 2,000, while Coleraine can accommodate close to 2,000 and Ballymena United 1,800.
If a restricted crowd is permitted for the Irish Cup games at Windsor Park, it would be a welcome boost for the Irish League at a time when the league season had to be curtailed.
The next campaign has already been impacted and may not start until late September or October.
Ballymena United chairman John Taggart said: "It was discussed as part of an agreement that next season could only commence if supporters were admitted up to 50% of the official ground safety capacity at each stadium."
Crusaders chairman Ronnie Millar added: "The clubs agreed on 50% and our attendance figure would be about 1,800."
And Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry said: "We are probably talking about a 2,000 crowd for us. There would be additional costs such as stewarding and we will take guidance on it.
"Through good governance and guidelines we can facilitate it. The hospitality trade is opening up and we are part of that with our bars and shops. The clubs would like to have at least a 50% capacity to make it financially viable for clubs who need the match day revenue through gate receipts and sponsorship. There will be a time when clubs must be self sufficient and not use the furlough scheme. Irish League football is very much about the fans and we can't get away from that."
A NIFL spokesperson said: "There is a commitment and understanding from all parties that football will return with fans. No one will push football without fans. Discussions around next season will begin shortly. A lot will depend on how the NI Executive roadmap develops. It's important a plan is put in place to give us all something to look forward to."
Confirmation came yesterday that the mathematical formula produced by an independent stats company - 21st Club - handed titles to Linfield, Portadown and Annagh United, with Institute dropping into the Championship. Attention will soon switch to the Irish Cup games and a huge challenge for the four remaining teams will be building up players' fitness, particularly given the difficulty of arranging a friendly match.
Experienced Coleraine defender Steven Douglas is frustrated the Bannsiders cannot go for a treble but he's excited at the prospect of the Irish Cup matches being played.
"You don't know how much you miss something until it's taken away from you," said the former Linfield favourite.
"It will be great to be back. I miss the boys and the craic. Football has been a great release for me and hopefully the Irish Cup can be played and we can get next season planned. We were flying but now we are left with what ifs. An Irish Cup final is usually the best day of the season but it will be very strange to see it played without fans. I think I've been involved in about 11 Cup finals so I should know!"
The negotiations over how the season should be curtailed became strained and Crusaders ace Sean Ward appealed for unity.
"It wasn't nice hearing things like fans talking about boycotting games," he said. "It's a great product and we all need each other. Yes, it's competitive and we all want to beat each other, but it's an Irish League community and it has been a strange and scary year. We all need to support each other and make decisions for the good of the game."
Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings, meanwhile, says he'll be disappointed if the Unite the Union Champions Cup is cut from the calendar next season. The two-legged clash saw SSE Airtricity League champions Dundalk sink Premiership champions Linfield 7-1 on aggregate and wasn't an exercise that gave the Blues supporters fond memories.
As football north and south has been suspended and next season is likely to be shortened, this all-island experiment is vulnerable to being shelved.
"I've been involved with Co-operation Ireland since the late '80s and I'm passionate about bringing the two communities together," said Jennings. "There's no better way than through football.
"The idea of having two games to determine champions of Ireland was a nice one.
"Hopefully it can carry on and it was a brilliant occasion to watch teams even though both sides were at different stages of the season.
"My son Patrick works for St Pat's, he's goalkeeping coach, and they're out of work and we will have to see how the season looks."
• Defender Howard Beverland is set to leave Crusaders this summer as manager Stephen Baxter steps up his search for a new centre-back.