A senior football referee suspected of computer hacking and dissemination of private information has been arrested. Dean Mohareb, 29, is a member of the Football Association's referee department and a football league referee.
Mohareb was due to take charge of the Championship match between Barnsley and Peterborough last night but following his arrest was removed from the fixture. It is unknown whether he has been suspended from his role beyond no longer overseeing the Oakwell match.
As the FA's National Referee Development Manager, Mohareb is responsible for handling sensitive data, including child protection issues. Greater Manchester Police said: "On Sunday 30 September 2012 police seized a number of electrical items as part of an investigation into computer hacking and the dissemination of private information. A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material/data, under section 1 of the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. The man has since been bailed until 26 November 2012."
The CID is investigating the hacking of personal and work email accounts of Janie Frampton, the FA's former National Referee Manager for Education and Training. Her emails were leaked to the press over a long period of time … the emails originating from a single address. The resulting press coverage alleged that she had offered FA Cup semi-final tickets to a flight steward in return for British Airways flight upgrades for herself and three female referees returning from a work trip to the Dallas Cup in the US … allegations that she vehemently denies. She was suspended and found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute following an internal investigation. A date has not yet been fixed for her appeal tribunal hearing. During the investigation, emails were sent from the same account to senior figures in football including FIFA president Sepp Blatter, calling for Frampton to be sacked. The anonymous hacker – operating under the pseudonym 'Pink Ref' – also posted comments in online chat rooms.
Janie Frampton, who has been with the FA for ten years, is the most senior woman in the referees department. She is currently appealing against her dismissal on the grounds that the procedures leading to it were fundamentally flawed and in breach of natural justice. She has received widespread support from senior figures at FIFA as well as the England Cricket Board – where she is a director of the Association of Cricket Officials – and Sports Officials UK, for whom she is the Chief Executive.