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Free game? Not on Fairfax County fields

Tuesday - 7/19/2011, 5:33am  ET

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The new permit policy is aimed at avoiding conflicts between participants in pickup and league games. (Courtesay Fairfax County Park Authority)

New Park Rules

WTOP's Max Smith talks with pickup game players not happy about the change.

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FAIRFAX, Va. - Playing or even watching sports in Fairfax County parks could cost you, at least if you're with a group of 20 or more.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is asking that anyone planning on using the county's 800 fields apply for a permit for groups of 20 or more, including spectators.

It's a $5.50 fee for "each participant," according to the county. Those who don't get a permit could face a misdemeanor charge and a $250 fine.

The number of players and spectators previously allowed to use the fields without a permit was 40. The park authority says the change in policy will avoid conflicts when soccer or football leagues with permits arrive at the parks to see pickup games already taking place on the field.

The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved the amendment this week. The rule change could also be adopted by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

A public hearing on the amendment will be held on Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. at 5400 Ox Road in Fairfax Station, Va. For more information call 703-359-4613.

WTOP's Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow Max and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)