Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) interim chairman Gerard Lawlor has warned that the domestic game is staring down the barrel of the gun and insists that clubs will go under unless they receive urgent financial help.
Cliftonville Chairman Lawlor took on the NIFL chair this week and today voices real concerns that Covid-19 could yet have a devastating impact on the game here.
The proposed start date for the new Danske Bank Premiership season is October 17 and if, as anticipated, attendances are heavily restricted, clubs will need financial assistance from the Irish FA and the Stormont Executive, says Lawlor.
"The Northern Ireland Football League cannot solve this ourselves," says Lawlor, who will act as interim Chairman until the NIFL AGM in a couple of months.
"We need the help of the governing body, the IFA, and most definitely beyond that we need help from government departments and the Executive because, if we don't, some of our clubs will go to the wall. That is not scaremongering, this is not about paying players' wages, it is about keeping clubs alive and ensuring survival. We are moving forward with the prospect of what I would describe as a tsunami on the way and I suppose the challenge now must be how we can protect ourselves for all levels of football in this country to survive.
"I think all aspects of life are vulnerable but, yes, senior football is looking down the barrel of a gun, very much because of Covid."
The IFA recently agreed to distribute £20k of FIFA relief funding to each Premiership club, but Lawlor feels more is needed - and quickly, with the new season just around the corner.
"I would hand on heart say we are probably arriving late to the party, in so much as the start of the new season is only a few weeks away," he adds.
"I wouldn't say we have buried our heads in the sand, but I think we've had a watching brief and that watching brief is now producing some very concerning facts and it is now time for senior football to take the lead and respond.
"If we do not react now, we would be burying our heads in the sand and I think NIFL, the board, all the clubs together need to look at the potential - or likelihood - of what is facing the game in the short and long-term.
"Three or four months ago, we thought 50% capacity in grounds was the least we could survive on and we were hopeful we could put models in place to mitigate against that.
"We are now at the start of September and 50% capacity is extremely unlikely. Speaking as Chairman of one of the Belfast clubs - some councils are doing different things - but Belfast clubs are looking at something like 12% or 15% capacity.
"The one thing that has kept us going has been furlough, it has been a blessing. But if we are looking at the end of furlough in October and starting to play football with in some cases 85% of spectators not allowed into grounds, no organisation, no business model will stand up to that challenge.
"We have received some monies, be it from the Executive or public bodies, we have received some of the IFA-FIFA money, but that's only the tip of the iceberg, papering over the cracks.
"I think there has been a realisation in recent days and weeks to sit down and realise if we don't act now, there is a tsunami on the way and we could be looking at losing clubs.
"We must act now to try to mitigate against that."