The FAI's Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn said the association is "trying to find as soft a landing as possible" for League of Ireland clubs crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was hoped domestic soccer would resume in June but the Government roadmap published last week stated that team sports leagues cannot start until 20 July. 

The FAI issued a document entitled 'Return to Football | Behind Closed Doors' at the end of April following consultation with all clubs and the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland, outlining the steps needed to see the resumption of football at the earliest possible date once declared safe by the HSE and the Department of Health.

However clubs are divided on the prospect of playing games behind closed doors.

Quinn suggested that matches could all be played at one stadium, as he conceded there is much concern and anxiety around with no definitive restart point currently in view. 

"If we moved the games, for instance, into one stadium as opposed to all the stadiums, could we have a professional medical outlet that could come in and do a job that would satisfy our players and satisfy everyone who had to be in the stadium?" he said on RTÉ 2fm's Game On.

"Would that be the way forward, if we all had it in one place and the games were played in a neutral venue? Those are the things we're looking at.

"It's a very worrying time for League of Ireland clubs.

"As an association we recognise that. We're trying to find as soft a landing as possible in this terrible time for the clubs.

"There's a real issue with us that the GAA don't have and that's the payment of players and the livelihoods of the footballers who pay, who make it a full-time for themselves. 

"To get back playing, the players will have to get fit again, they'll have to know they'll be in a medically safe environment and we'll have to have some reason financially for the clubs to bring it all together. 

"It'll all be decided ultimately on what the HSE and the Government has to say on when we'll be allowed back."

On Wednesday, GAA officials ruled out playing any inter-county games before October.

Things are less clear around soccer. On 20 July the Government will "permit sports team leagues (e.g. soccer and GAA) but only where limitations are placed on the numbers of spectators and where social distancing can be maintained".

Quinn, while accepting the massive challenge facing the league, said they remain in dialogue with the HSE and was cautiously upbeat about the potential for League of Ireland to find a bigger audience once it does come back.

"Our choices aren't great at the moment, but we do hope there's a will out there that people will watch League of Ireland games if we got them out there... to the people who are starved of sport at this moment in time," he added.

"There's also an international audience we can look at. 

"It does bode well in that the conversations we're having with, not just with streaming companies but marketing companies, global marketing companies at that, that there will be a future for the product no matter what happens when we do come out of the coronavirus.

"We're tentatively looking at what those [road map] dates meant and those announcements meant. This evening Dr Alan Byrne, our chief medical director, is taking to HSE officials about what it means for the amateur game and what it means for our professional game.

"There's a number of things in play. There's more questions than answers at the moment."