The family of an 11-year-old Scottish boy with Down’s Syndrome, seen on a video wildly celebrating Greece’s last-second victory over the Ivory Coast, said he won’t be able to accept an invitation from the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) to go to Brazil to watch the Greeks play Costa Rica in the quarter-finals.
Jay Beatty, known as Wee Jay, is a fan of Greek striker Giorgos Samaras, who scored the winning kick on a penalty and who carried the boy across the field in Scotland this year after the Celtic team the Greek star plays for won the championship there.
A Facebook campaign went viral fast to get the boy invited to the game and the Greek soccer organization responded almost immediately with an invitation for him to see the game on June 29.
“We were unable to take up the offer and are so gutted, but truly grateful that people would do this for Jay. We cannot believe that this has happened and are so humbled and would like to wish Greece all the best in the World Cup,” his father Martin wrote on Facebook.
“Thanks Sammy I hope you win the World Cup. I am sorry I won’t be there, but I still love you very much and I hope you win. Come on Sammy!”, Jay said to Samaras in a video posted by his father on Facebook,
In an interview Samaras gave on June 26, he revealed the invitation. “It was thrilling, moving. This kid gives me so much strength it is unbelievable,” confessed Samaras, who picked up Jay during Celtic’s title celebrations in May in one of that day’s most striking images.
Before it was found the boy couldn’t come, Samaras said, “In talks I’ve had this morning with (EPO President Giorgos) Sarris we said if we can arrange for his tickets so that he can come to see the match with Costa Rica. We will speak with the child’s father and we’ll see, whether we get his OK.”
He said that, “We’ve got a Greece shirt that I will sign now and all the lads will sign later, during lunch. It’s just a small present we can offer to him. We have set a date to meet in Belfast.”
Beatty, a fervent Celtics fan, has managed to meet all the players of his favorite team and its management. He is also an avid fan of Samaras, a former Celtic star who picked up the young boy out of the crowd when Celtic lifted the Scottish Premiership trophy in May.
Jay’s father recently posted the video showing his son dressed in blue and celebrating Greece’s victory over Ivory Coast. “It’s not often you see Jay in Blue but he had to get a Greece T-shirt,” he comments below the photograph posted on Facebook.
The O JAY PAEI Mundial Facebook page garnered more than 50,600 “likes” when it was first posted as the scene of the boy exclaiming joy moved viewers.