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Sporting Kansas City: 'No truth' to report of Everton takeover

Sporting Kansas City say there is "no truth" to a BBC report that owners of the Major League Soccer club are trying to buy Everton.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, who bought the club from Peter Johnson in December 1999, said as long ago as November 2007 that he would be prepared to sell if the right buyer came along.

Citing City of London financial sources, BBC Sport reported that the Premier League club is asking £225 million for a sale to go through.

However, a Sporting KC spokesperson told ESPN FC there was "no truth" to the report that its ownership were interested in buying Everton, while the Merseyside club declined to comment on the possibility of a takeover when contacted.

Sporting KC representative Mike Illig, whose father Cliff is the club's principal investor, has said he is an Everton fan.

Mike Illig posted pictures of a past visit to Everton's Goodison Park ground on his Twitter account on Thursday and used the hashtag #rumorsarefun.

He visited Merseyside in August when he attended former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson's testimonial against Villarreal.

Sporting CEO Robb Heineman wrote later on Friday that there is no push to buy Everton.

Heineman then told ESPN FC: "We went over there in August, and we're always opportunistic with opportunities like that. Was it ever close? No. Was it something that we still think about here and there? Sure. But do I actually think we're seriously in the running for it? No. 

"I actually think there are a couple of legitimate groups that are talking to Bill Kenwright right now about buying the team. But I think there are some serious groups that are in the mix and I think it will get solved in the next few months."

Asked if Cliff Illig was involved at all, he replied: "No. Cliff and I are the same thing. What I said represents what Cliff thinks too. And Cliff is at the Royals game tonight which is where he'll be for every game [in that series].

"We went back [to Everton in August] to talk to Bill Kenwright about exploring if there was an opportunity for us. We had a good talk, learned a lot, but the timing probably just didn't work out really well for us.

"It probably wasn't the right set of circumstances, wasn't the right price, we probably weren't ready to pull the trigger. There are a lot of different things that just led us to think that it's not the time for us to do it right now."

Heineman did not rule out the prospect of a future takeover of a Premier League club.

"I think we're going to keep looking at stuff in the EPL for sure," he added. "The thing about Everton is it's such a solid foundation of fans, such a solid foundation as a club.

"From a profit standpoint they're a very profitable club in the EPL, which isn't always the case. It was very intriguing, and Liverpool is a beautiful place. So for all those reasons it made some sense, but at the end of the day it just wasn't the right thing."

Kenwright has faced protests from fans who have accused him and the board of not investing in the club.

A group of supporters paid for a light aircraft trailing a banner calling for the board to resign to fly over Southampton's St Mary's ground during Everton's 3-0 win there in August.

ESPN FC correspondent Mike Whalley contributed to this report.

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