BICESTER's ex-athletes are sad to see the town's beloved rugby club leave what was its home since 1948.

Bicester Rugby Union Football Club (BRUFC) left its base at Oxford Road sports ground last Wednesday.

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It comes after Bicester Sports Association (BSA), which manages the grounds until Bicester Village owners Value Retail take it over in May 2021, had asked the club for the first time this year to sign a lease for use of the site until the end of May.

The club says it signed and sent the lease to BSA's solicitor on July 29, but were informed on August 5 that the BSA had subsequently withdrawn its offer and would have to find somewhere else to play.

BSA says BRUFC failed to provide a signed copy of the lease agreement on three separate occasions.

BRUFC is now using The Bicester School and Whitelands Farm Sports Ground while it finds a new site.

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Craig Morley, BRUFC board director, said: "It's a very sad week for the club. We have been using the Oxford Road ground for 72 years and it's been difficult to say goodbye.

"We are working with Cherwell District Council, Bicester Town Council, Sport England, and the RFU to find a new home."

Ex-club members took to social media to express their disappointment of the club being made homeless.

Tim Cockers tweeted: "Disgusting scenes. I grew up playing at Bicester RUFC through minis to men. No way should they have no where to play, let’s try and keep these guys going. All Oxfordshire RFU clubs pull together."

Jan Maciejewski, chair of BSA, said: "This was not an outcome that we ever desired. We’ve done everything in our power to try to accommodate the Rugby Club, but have been disappointed by the lack of reciprocation on their part."

Leader of Bicester Town Council Richard Mould says the council is working with the club to 'find a solution'.