SO GRIMSBY have become the first club in the country to be punished for breaking EFL rules during the pandemic.

That is according to a report from the BBC – there has been no official public statement from the governing body.

The breaches led to the City game at Blundell Park, which should have originally taken place on October 3, being called off as well as two others after young player Jack Curran tested positive.

But, according to the BBC, an investigation found that social-distancing rules had not been followed at the club’s training ground – which meant more players were forced to self-isolate than should have been necessary.

Grimsby have been hit with a fine of £4,880 suspended until the end of the season and also face other costs to cover the investigation as well as those incurred by the teams they should have played – the Bantams, Cheltenham and Hull.

It appears a meagre punishment but it does vindicate the comments made at the time by City chief executive Ryan Sparks.

He came in for plenty of flak from those associated with the Mariners after criticising the lack of communication surrounding Grimsby’s decision to postpone.

Grimsby chairman Philip Day revealed the news in a radio interview before City had been informed – something Sparks called “utterly staggering”.

“In terms of etiquette, it is very poor from a Grimsby Town perspective,” he said. “We would never operate like that.”

Former Grimsby boss Ian Holloway also blasted City's Billy Clarke after he called for clearer guidelines over whether games should be postponed or not because of COVID. 

Holloway was filmed in a training-ground rant telling Clarke to "shut your mouth".

Day this afternoon told BBC Radio Humberside: “Quite honestly this should not have happened.

"We're disappointed because, prior to the players returning to training, we had put in place protocols which were approved by the EFL and we gave a full morning's training to the staff and players to ensure they were fully conversant with the protocol.

"The protocols are there for a purpose and they must be complied with. They're all adults, but sometimes you've just got to reinforce the message time and again."