The Highland League last night confirmed the division will be made up of 17 teams next season following Cove Rangers’ promotion to the SPFL.
The decision not to admit another club and bring the number of competing clubs back up to 18 was taken at the league’s AGM in Lossiemouth.
Confirming the decision, Highland League president Raymond Cardno said: “With Cove Rangers having such a successful season and going up to the SPFL we will have a 17-team league.
“The way the regulations are it’s not for us to go and put out invitations for people.
“At any time if clubs qualify through the various criteria, they can make an application.”
Cardno confirmed Inverness held talks with the league about a colts team becoming Cove’s replacement, but added: “It was a unanimous decision after a thorough debate.”
Highland League secretary Rod Houston said: “Caley Thistle had approached us to consider the possibility of a colts team joining but, at the minute, there are too many impondrables for the clubs to be comfortable with.
“I think that given the speed of events in the last month with Cove’s elevation, the fact that Banks o’ Dee are eligible for Highland League membership, by virtue of the fact that they are a Scottish FA club, the fact that they declined meant that the rest of the clubs just wanted to catch their breath.
“It would have been completely disrespectful to the Lowland League champions and club 42, which this season was Berwick, for us to have done anything in advance of the outcome of the play-offs.
“The Highland League prides itself in being a respectful organisation.”