The SPFL is "a private members' club," says Brora Rangers chairman William Powrie after his Highland League champions were denied a place in an expanded set-up.
The proposal for a 14-10-10-10 structure - which would have included Brora and Lowland League winners Kelty Hearts in the bottom tier - failed after only 16 clubs indicated support.
Powrie "wouldn't be surprised" if next term's pyramid play-offs are scrapped.
"It is a huge blow," he said.
"Apathy trumped empathy to our case by the other members. It does leave a sour taste having been through the mill for three months, only for our case to fall on deaf ears.
"Let's make no mistake about this, the SPFL is a private members' club. They make it incredibly difficult for teams who aspire to be playing on a national stage to actually get there."
- Partick Thistle join Hearts in legal fight
- SPFL clubs fail to back reconstruction
- Championship clubs approve 27-game season
Powrie says it is "highly unlikely" Brora will follow the lead of relegated sides Hearts and Partick Thistle by pursuing legal action.
In normal circumstances, the Highland and Lowland League winners would face each other for the chance of promotion in a play-off final against the League Two's bottom club, which this season was Brechin City.
But the play-offs were cancelled after the lower leagues were prematurely ended because of Covid-19 in April.
And with the bottom tier to play a shortened 2021-21 season and clubs intimating they are aiming for an October start, Powrie fears the route to the SPFL will again be cut off.
"It would surprise me not in the slightest if the play-offs were cancelled due to the truncated nature of the season," he added.
"I have already made representations to our Highland League secretary to make sure that is at the top of his agenda the next time he is speaking to the relevant authorities.''