Football World Cup: Spain federation boss Luis Rubliales refuses to stand down, despite reports of impending resignation over unsolicited kiss

Spanish football boss Luis Rubiales refused to quit for kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain's Women's World Cup victory, fuelling anger among players and government ministers who decried his actions as unacceptable macho behaviour.

The government cannot sack Rubiales, who is head of the independent Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). But it will seek to suspend him using a legal procedure before a sports tribunal, the head of the state-run sports council, Victor Francos, told reporters.

"We want all this to be a 'Me Too' of Spanish soccer," Francos said.

Rubiales had been widely expected to stand down at an emergency meeting of the federation, but instead he said he refused to be forced out and complained that "false feminists" were "trying to kill me".

He called the kiss a "little peck" that was "spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual".

"Is a consensual peck going to take me out of here? I won't resign. I will fight until the end," said Rubiales, 46, drawing applause from the predominantly male audience.

Criticism of Rubiales' behaviour has built throughout the week. The incident occurred while the players were being handed their medals after they beat England 1-0 in the World Cup final in Sydney, Australia.

As players filed past, Rubiales grabbed Hermoso by the head and planted a kiss on her mouth.

Acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz called his speech on Friday "unacceptable", writing on social media: "The government must act and take urgent measures: impunity for macho actions is over. Rubiales cannot continue in office."

Acting Equality Minister Irene Montero said the state prosecutor and the sports council CSD should act to protect Hermoso.

FIFA opened disciplinary procedures against Rubiales on Thursday after Hermoso said in a statement her union was working to defend her interests and that such acts should "never go unpunished".

Meanwhile, dozens of members of the Spanish Women's national team said they would not play any matches for the country until Rubiales is removed from his job.

A total of 56 players, including Hermoso and all of the cup-winning 23-strong side, signed a joint statement sent via their FUTPRO union demanding the removal of the federation leadership.