Scottish Premier League Kilmarnock Chair Michael Johnston "played down fears about the club's future after denying a winding up petition could be on its way to the club," according to Hugh Keevins of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Kilmarnock has until Tuesday to settle a £15,000 ($23,800) debt or "face the threat of a winding up order, which could put the club into liquidation." But Craig Stevenson, the Kilmarnock-based food wholesaler who is after the money owed to his firm, Monday night denied that he "was involved in a personal battle" with Johnston. Stevenson said: "I’m not a football fan, and Kilmarnock FC is just another customer to me. Michael says £15,000 is not a lot of money, but it’s my money and I want it paid" (DAILY RECORD, 1/22). The SCOTSMAN reported Glasgow firm MacRoberts Debt Recovery "confirmed on Monday that sheriff officers would serve the club with a winding-up petition if the club," which is in the red to the tune of nearly £10M ($16M), "failed to settle the debt with Stevenson" (SCOTSMAN, 1/22).
An int'l consortium has "expressed an interest" in buying the National Rugby League Melbourne Storm from News Ltd., but under one condition -- that coach Craig Bellamy remains in charge of the premiers, according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. In "another twist to the saga over Bellamy's future," Fairfax Media has been told the consortium, which is "believed to be headed by an investor from Britain," is exploring the possibility of buying the Storm. It will not, however, "table an offer unless Bellamy re-signs." Bellamy, who has taken Melbourne to five grand finals since '06, comes off contract at the end of this season and is "understood to be considering a massive offer from St. George Illawarra." After handing control of the game to the newly formed Australian Rugby League Commission last February, News Ltd. said that it would "look to sell out of the Storm." The media company, which also owns the Brisbane Broncos, received "several approaches" (SMH, 1/23).
China's Hebei province "welcomed its first second-division" football team in more than two decades when Shijiazhuang Yongchang Junhao FC announced its transfer from Fujian province to Shijiazhuang in Hebei, according to Tang Zhe of the CHINA DAILY. The team, formerly known as Fujian Junhao FC, finished third in the second league last season and will this year be based at Shijiazhuang Yutong Int'l Sports Center (CHINA DAILY, 1/21). WILD EAST FOOTBALL's B. Cheng noted the team showed off its new colors and logo on Friday and is being talked about as the "second Evergrande," ready to spend 1B RMB ($161M) during the offseason to earn a Chinese Super League spot. Xu Tao has been named the team's chairman (WILD EAST FOOTBALL, 1/21).