An Italian court has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether national legislation, which governs when a service provider may be excluded from bidding, is fully compatible with the EU procurement rules. The Milan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) published a tender for courier services, and three companies tendered (SDA, Poste Italiane and Assitur). Assitur pointed out that SDA was ultimately controlled by Poste Italiane and asserted that under Italian law, companies which were members of the same group could not participate individually in a competitive tender and therefore SDA and Poste Italiane should be excluded. MCC investigated the matter and took the view that Italian law did not prohibit simultaneous bidding by linked companies and found no evidence of breach of competition or confidentiality rules by the parties concerned. MCC went on to award the contract to SDA. Assitur took a case before the national court asserting a breach of Italian legislation. The national court asked the ECJ to rule on whether the grounds for exclusion under the EU procurement directive were exhaustive. On 10 February 2009, the Advocate General gave an Opinion stating that Member States could add to the grounds of exclusion provided that such grounds are intended to ensure transparency and equal treatment and are proportional to the objectives. He went on to say that, a national rule that automatically excludes linked bidders, without giving them an opportunity to prove that there had been no breach of transparency or equal treatment, would be disproportionate.