Danske Bank Premiership clubs will be able to keep their four European slots and be permitted to play in a cross-border competition worth £10m per year under current models being discussed, Sunday Life Sport can reveal.
Proposals currently under consideration are based on retaining the Danske Bank Premiership consisting of 12 teams playing each other home and away (22 game season), then the top teams in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, likely to be six from each association, to break away to battle in a lucrative 'Super League'.
Sunday Life Sport has been told by informed sources that on offer for such a cross-border competition is up to £10m of funding, underwritten by UEFA through their centralised policy of negotiating television rights.
It is also understood that both the IFA and the FAI would retain their slots to play in Europe, currently four for Danske Bank Premiership clubs.
Talks are at an embryonic and sensitive stage, but if such proposals are rubberstamped by UEFA, the financial rewards from both European and cross-border competition would hold great appeal for many clubs.
Glenavon and Ballymena are understood to be against a cross-border league, while Cliftonville and Dungannon Swifts did not sign a letter sent to UEFA last August requesting more information.
Other clubs are very interested but are wary of being associated with any 'all-Ireland' connotations in the current political climate in Northern Ireland, which some feel is 'toxic' at a time of unrest on the streets.
Sunday Life Sport understands the Presidents from the IFA and FAI have been in dialogue over a future cross border competition, have looked into the feasibility of such a project and will take the lead alongside UEFA.
Irish FA CEO Patrick Nelson has not been involved in negotiations and remains opposed to an All Ireland League but his spokesperson did concede the Irish FA are 'happy to both take part in and enhance cross-border Cup competitions at all levels'.
"The Irish Football Association has confirmed that it will not sanction any of its member clubs to take part in an all-island (All-Ireland) Football League," said the IFA's Danny Lynch.
"NIFL has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013 and continues to attract increased sponsorship and funding.
"The present distribution model, unanimously agreed by all clubs, ensures all 12 teams in the Danske Bank Premiership benefit from the prize fund.
"This has created a balanced league which has seen a substantial increase in attendances, awareness and television coverage.
"UEFA competition places, prize monies and youth solidarity funding are important to our clubs and we do not wish to put these in question.
"We greatly value our association and club links with the Football Association of Ireland and are happy to both take part in, and enhance, cross-border cup competitions at all levels.
"We already have the new Unite the Union Champions' Cup, played for between the champions of the Irish League and League of Ireland, the Presidents' Cup for Junior sides in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and a proposed new intermediate level competition."
One IFA insider observed: "Whether it is called a league or an expanded cup competition, it's the same thing; same horse, different jockey.
"Kieran Lucid (the businessman who first floated the idea) is out of the picture, with UEFA now keen on regional leagues, and that is a game-changer."
It remains to be seen whether a summer switch would be an essential element of the new proposals, a matter that would also cause division among clubs.
But with the Stormont Executive ready to invite applications to their sub-regional stadia funding programme in August/September, some clubs see this is as an opportunity to be grasped.
"The stars are aligning for Irish football," said one club source. "We have been crying out for investment from both the government and UEFA/the IFA, and it looks like we could be getting the support we need."