Negotiations over Nigel Worthington's future as Northern Ireland football manager are unlikely to be concluded before the New Year.
IFA chief Howard Wells is hopeful that Worthington will stay on
Irish FA chief executive Howard Wells said he remained "hopeful and optimistic" that Worthington would agree a new deal.
"We are still in negotiations but it's unlikely that it will all be sorted out before Christmas," Wells told the BBC.
The IFA is negotiating with Worthington and the manager's agent.
"We're working through things methodically and there are contractual issues to deal with which are never totally straightforward.
"We're also negotiating with Nigel and an agent so the process does take a bit of time."
It has been speculated that the IFA is keen to secure the services of the former Norwich City manager on a two-year contract.
Worthington took over when Lawrie Sanchez resigned earlier this year.
Sanchez was sacked as Fulham manager on Friday but the IFA is only negotiating with Worthington over the managerial position.
Although Northern Ireland failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals, they did finish a creditable third in their group.
Northern Ireland have been drawn in the same Word Cup group as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and San Marino.