A Leyland referee has been charged over allegations of computer hacking and the sharing of private information at the Football Association.
Dean Mohareb, who worked as the Lancashire FA’s referee development officer in Leyland for three-and-a-half years, is accused of perverting the course of justice and unauthorised access to computer data.
The 30-year-old, who went on to be-come the FA’s national referee development manager, a Premier League linesman and Football League match official, was initially arrested by police in October last year.
Officers seized a number of electrical items from his home while investigating claims he hacked into a colleague’s email account.
He was then re-arrested in February.
Mohareb, of Weybourne Drive, Woodley, Stockport, was formally suspended by the governing body after his second arrest, having been stood down from officiating in October 2012.
However, he continued to referee local games.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed two other men, not thought to be FA employees, had been charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the case.
The FA has declined to comment on the matter while legal proceedings are going on.
Lancashire FA’s chief executive, Dave Burgess, said he was surprised by the allegations and that during his time at Leyland, Mohareb was “an exemplary employee.”
He said: “He worked as my referees’ development officer. We have more than 2,000 referees in Lancashire, and part of Dean’s role would be to develop programmes to improve the quality of our referees.
“He would go into schools and referees’ societies and get everything organised.
“It was a job he was very good at – to the point he eventually got head-hunted by the FA working at national level.
“In the time he worked with us I found him to be bright, intelligent and ambitious. As a referee himself, he got up to Football League standard.
“I’ll be absolutely honest – I was very surprised when he was arrested.”