OXFORD RL are to merge with University of Gloucestershire All Golds and create a new club in Bristol for the 2019 season.

The announcement, made by the Rugby Football League (RFL) this afternoon, marks the end of a five-year period of the sport being played competitively in Oxfordshire.

However, the RFL has confirmed rugby league will “continue to have a presence” in Oxford “with community clubs and foundations remaining in place”.

The Blues, who played in Kingstone Press League One, have struggled to build a consistently competitive squad, despite moving to the new artificial surface at Abingdon’s Tilsley Park from Iffley Road.

The RFL accepted a proposal put forward by Oxford and All Golds earlier this month, detailing plans of their withdrawal from next season’s competition and their intention to merge, forming a new team for the following season.

A statement from the club reads: “The initial mission was to bring rugby league to the region and both clubs have done a great deal to achieve that goal.

“It is important to ensure that the game continues and the pooling of resources of both clubs made good sense to continue in this mission.

“The playing and financial landscapes for both clubs have changed considerably from the initial start back in 2012.

“And it has therefore become clear to both boards that pooling the experience, contacts and resources together will help address and protect the development of rugby league in the region and more importantly do so for the long term.

“The clubs amalgamation will provide one rugby league club within the South West region.

“All the rugby league ethos and values of providing ties within the community along with a family-friendly club with links to local businesses will be key objectives.”

Ralph Rimmer, chief operating officer of the RFL, said: “The Rugby Football League is clear that there is an expectation on all clubs in the professional game to offer a clear strategy that demonstrates their plans to help grow and strengthen the sport in future years.

“Oxford and Gloucester have come to the conclusion that the best way for them to now move forward is by creating a new club in Bristol that is backed by significant support and investment.

“The Rugby Football League board has accepted this and is looking forward to seeing further detailed plans for the new club in due course.

“Rugby League will continue to have a presence in both Oxford and Gloucester with community clubs and foundations remaining in place.”