The Shapla Football League was established in January of 1993 by a handful of football enthusiasts who had the vision of bringing together the best footballing talent within the ethnic minorities (principally Bangladeshis) from across the West Midlands .
The primary aim of the league was to provide a platform for young Bangladeshi footballers to showcase their talents and use the league as a platform into the mainstream arena.
The initial conception of the league was assisted by funds raised from various promotions and included just six teams; Aston Rangers, Lozells Strikers, Smethwick Jonota, Aston Strikers, Bengal Tigers and Walsall Bengal Stars.
The teams participating were all made up of players from the West Midland 's Bangladeshi community. Given that a high proportion of Bangladeshis worked in the catering sector, the games needed to be played during Sunday afternoons. The structure of the league also met the needs of the Bangladeshi players who were predominantly Muslims as it had to fit around their work patterns, cultural and religious needs as well as having a short break for the month of Ramadan and Eid celebrations.
Games were originally played on pitches in the borough of Smethwick but in recent years have been staged at Saltley Leisure Centre, situated approximately three miles east from the centre of Birmingham .
Due to the success of the competition, the league attracted considerable national interest and within a couple of seasons had to be expanded to two divisions, with eight teams in each division.
Teams from towns such as Kidderminster, Dudley, Northampton and as far as Milton Keynes entered the league.
Non-Bangladeshi players and teams were welcomed into the league and it is now currently operating as a non-exclusive Community League affiliated to the Birmingham Football Association, but still retaining it's core promise of providing culturally and religiously acceptable football.
Currently, four games are played every Sunday alternating between the two divisions at Saltley Leisure Centre. The league begins in late August or early September and ends with the Cup Final in late May or early June.
The league operates a two-up, two-down format with two teams being relegated from Division One and two teams promoted from Division Two.
A play-off scenario is also currently being evaluated to try and keep all teams interested right to the end of the season.
As with all successful leagues, The Shapla Football League also operates a League Cup competition where teams from both divisions play in a knock-out contest to ultimately try and reach the Cup Final.
Since 1999, the Cup Final has been staged at the prestigious Villa Park stadium, home of FA Premier League club Aston Villa and supported by West Midlands Police. The game is marketed throughout the West Midlands via the local press, radio, leaflets and posters as a family event with free admission. Cup Final Day has always attracted thousands of fans, from all communities including women, children and important dignitaries.
The league also founded the Shapla Eka-Dosh football team, made up of a select group of talented players from within the Shapla Football League. Shapla Eka-Dosh was created with the sole purpose of raising the profile of both the Shapla Football League but more importantly the players within the league who needed further exposure. The team participated in successful competitions on a national level.