Textbook example of the risks of preliminary market consultations

It is no secret I have a very negative view on fairly lax approach to pre-market engagement taken by Directive 2014/24/EU and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. This week we have a textbook example of the risks posed by opening the floodgates of communications with potential contractors before a tender is launched.

Here's what the BBC found out about Sports Wales procurement practices:

The email is one of a series seen by BBC Wales, including correspondence between the two discussing the terms of the contract, including work locations, timelines and prices, nearly a month before it went out to tender.
It culminates in an email, two days before the rest of the tender emails were sent, from Ms Powell to Mr Whale which said: “I’m still not 100% sure how we are going to finalise this tender but if you could provide us with a submission based on this I can at least get this moving in our system here.
”I was thinking if we did this I can send to a couple of people and apologise for the short notice but this is where we are and see who comes back?”
Unforgiving Minute was the only tender as the other companies were unable to respond within the required time frame.

While it appears that in this instance Sport Wales was not engaging the market to help the preparation of the tender documents, making it a clearer case of (un)equal treatment, it is only a question of time until the lines get blurred. What if the email said "do you think this tender is doable" instead of "could (you) provide us with a submission based on this"? The end result is the virtually the same, the only change being the emphasis of the question.