Cardiff City promoted to Premier League

LONDON (AFP) - Welsh club Cardiff City were promoted to the English top flight for the first time in the Premier League era after drawing 0-0 at home to Charlton Athletic in the Championship on Tuesday.

The result guaranteed their return to the elite after a 51-year absence and prompted delirious fans to spill onto the pitch in celebration at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Cardiff will join fellow Welsh side, and sworn rivals, Swansea City in the Premier League next season, when there will be two teams from Wales in the English top flight for the first time.

Charlton's Johnnie Jackson came close to spoiling the promotion party in the Welsh capital when he curled a free-kick against the post in the first half.

Craig Noone thought he had scored for the hosts late in the second half, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

It mattered not, though, as news of third-place Watford's 1-0 defeat at Millwall guaranteed Cardiff's promotion and sparked the pitch invasion that greeted the final whistle.

The Bluebirds last played among the English elite in 1962 and were playing in the fourth tier as recently as 2001.

Ironically, their promotion comes at the end of a season that began amid angry protests at Malaysian owner Vincent Tan's controversial decision to change the club's home kit from their habitual blue shirts with white socks to red shirts with black shorts.

He also altered the club's crest, with a red dragon taking the place of the traditional bluebird, which was moved to the base of the badge.

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