The United States have announced their withdrawal from the race to host the 2018 World Cup.
The USA had been in the running to stage either the 2018 or 2022 competition, but have now decided to focus solely on the latter.
The decision means there will definitely be a European host in eight years' time, with England and Russia remaining in the running along with joint bids by Belgium/Holland and Spain/Portugal.
With FIFA statutes preventing two successive World Cups being held in the same continent, the race for the 2022 tournament will now be between Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar and the USA.
Bid committee executive director David Downs told Press Association Sport two months ago that: "At this point, no-one has offered us a compelling enough reason to drop out of the running for 2018 for us to do that."
But the chairman of the committee, Sunil Gulati, today said: "For some time we have been in conversations with FIFA and UEFA about the possibility of focusing only on the 2022 bidding process, an option we have made reference to many times.
"We are confident this is in the best interests of the USA bid.
"We wanted to make the announcement now - still 48 days before the final decision - in order to make our intentions clear during the last part of our campaign. This also enables FIFA to finalise the selection procedures during its upcoming scheduled executive committee meeting."
That meeting will take place in Zurich on October 28 and 29.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said: "We have had an open and constructive dialogue with the USA Bid for some time now, after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Europe.
"The announcement of today by the USA bid to focus solely on the 2022 FIFA World Cup is therefore a welcome gesture which is much appreciated by FIFA."Reuse content