Pakistan fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif look set to escape any further doping sanctions after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it was unable to hear their case.
In a statement released on Monday, CAS said it was forced to dismiss an appeal brought by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) does not recognise the court in its regulations.
Shoaib and Asif were handed two and one-year bans in November 2006 by the PCB's Anti-Doping Commission after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.
The punishment was controversially lifted one month later by the board's Anti-Doping Appeals Committee, which said the pair had successfully argued that they had taken supplements in the belief that they did not contain any prohibited substances.
WADA, whose strict liability rules hold athletes responsible for any substances found in their bodies, sought to have the bans re-imposed.
The Agency pointed out that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had adopted the Word Anti-Doping Code, including the right to appeal to CAS, and that Pakistan was a full member of the Council.
Announcing its decision "with some considerable regret", CAS on Monday said that its rules "require that a direct reference to the CAS be contained in the statutes or regulations of the body whose decision is being appealed."
The ruling added the ICC Code contained no provision obliging the PCB to allow a right of appeal to CAS.
Even if it did, CAS concluded that no right of appeal would exist "until the PCB amended its statutes or regulations to incorporate such a right."
PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said his organisation had been vindicated by Monday's decision by CAS.
"We followed the correct procedure and policy from the start and our stand is vindicated by the CAS decision to throw out the WADA appeal," Ashraf told Reuters from London.
Shoaib and Asif have both been included in the Pakistan team currently visiting Scotland.
Pakistan were due to play a one-day match against Scotland on Sunday but the fixture was washed out by rain.
The side are due to take on India in Glasgow on Tuesday.