The "Unpatriots"

German sporting greats — Michael Schumacher, Boris Becker and Franz Beckenbauer — were labelled "unpatriotic" for choosing to live as tax exiles. The attack came from German finance minister Hans Eichel in a television debate on the ARD television channel. Eichel said he would have expected "a minimum of patriotism from these people" considering Germany's current financial crisis. When the show's presenter mentioned the trio of sporting icons Eichel declared: "I'm not one of their great fans."

Three time Wimbledon winner Becker and six-time Formula One champion Schumacher have both set up home in Switzerland while dual World Cup winner Beckenbauer, known as `the Kaiser', lives in Austria. Becker has had some bruising run-ins with the German authorities — recently he was ordered to pay three million euros in unpaid taxes and handed a two-year suspensed prison sentence. He is still said to owe the Munich authorities 660,000 euros in unpaid taxes.