Indicates that a competition is fair; that is, not predetermined that it will be awarded to an unofficially selected bidder, nor even skewed to favour a preferred bidder. The actual objective of most technical authorities and contracting officers; the nominal objective of all of them.
Perversely, focusing on achieving the perception of a level playing field drives more labyrinthine procurement rules and regulations than does pursuit of the actual objective.
The WE project, perhaps?
Jim – Well, that was far in the future when I first wrote this definition for my proposal manual, but yes, it gives the appearance of violating this principle. Or, maybe, the one that says there should be a playing field with more than one team on it.