By David Owen at the British Olympic Association Headquarters in London

Sebastian Coe has released the manifesto for his IAAF Presidential election campaign ©Getty ImagesSebastian Coe today put the focus of his campaign for the Presidency of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) squarely in the same place as the London 2012 Olympic project that he spearheaded to such great effect: young people.

At a brisk and business-like launch here, Coe, who is also British Olympic Association chairman, branded next year's election to succeed Senegal's Lamine Diack in one of the biggest jobs in world sport as "a referendum on the future."

He went on: "This is about engaging with young people.

"We have struggled to excite young people and articulate why athletics matters to them.

"This is unsustainable.

"We have an ageing audience, raising a fundamental concern about where the next generation will come from.

"There is no need to panic: our sport is universal and has untold potential.

Nevertheless, "The status quo is simply not an option."

Sebastian Coe put forward his manifesto for his IAAF Presidential campaign at the British Olympic Association headquarters in London ©Getty ImagesSebastian Coe put forward his manifesto for his IAAF Presidential campaign at the British Olympic Association headquarters in London ©Getty Images

The 58-year-old former middle distance runner and IAAF vice-president is expected to face opposition from Sergey Bubka, the Ukrainian former pole vaulter who is eight years his junior, in a contest that will pit track against field, east against west, Olympic gold medallist against Olympic gold medallist, former world record holder against former world record holder.

Bubka said this week that colleagues and friends knew about his plans for the Presidency and that he would announce them "in due time".

Coe, however, starts the campaign as overwhelming favourite following his successful spell as the chairman of London 2012, an event regarded as the most successful Olympics and Paralympics in history.

In addition to Mike Lee of Vero Communications, the company he has hired to help run his campaign, Coe was accompanied at today's event by Hugh Robertson, the widely-respected former Sports and Foreign Office Minister.

The Englishman's detailed plans for his sport are set out in a 20-page manifesto titled Growing Athletics in a New Age that utilises the yellow and black colour scheme associated with Haringey, one of his former clubs.

The former Conservative politician called this "a 10-year vision for athletics and the IAAF" and "a road map to deliver growth and vibrancy".

Sebastian Coe is likely to face opposition from fellow IAAF vice-president Sergey Bubka in the race for IAAF Presidency ©Getty ImagesSebastian Coe is likely to face opposition from fellow IAAF vice-president Sergey Bubka in the race for IAAF Presidency ©Getty Images

Among the more interesting proposals are a call for athletics calendar reform; a review of the IAAF's internal structure; and the creation of a new IAAF division focused exclusively on engaging with young people.

"To many..., the world athletics calendar seems disjointed, lacks purpose, a narrative and the essential glue to build excitement and a loyal and passionate following," the document states.

"Our review must look at how the formats and role of the Diamond League fits within the overall athletics calendar and how we can boost the quality, not the quantity, of this competition to make each meeting much more like a Grand Slam as we see in sports like tennis.

"Our aim should be to give the calendar a narrative that has a start, a middle and end that make sense.

"The IAAF World Relays is a good example of innovation, but it should not have taken over a decade to bring to life."

Among examples of "positive change", the manifesto talks of "bringing together our 'out of stadium' Championships, combining race-walking, road races and cross-country with a mass participation event in a host city over a weekend - a form of 'Running and Walking Festival'.

In other messages, Coe suggested using more of a team concept as part of the drive to draw young people to the sport and described the fight against doping as, "A war we cannot lose".

Questioned on the number of key roles in sport that he now holds - as well as his BOA and IAAF positions he is a member of the European Olympic Committees Executive Committee and the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, executive chairman of CSM Sport and Entertainment and a global advisor to Nike - Coe pledged that, if elected, "My focus and attention will be absolutely firmly rooted in delivering all the demands that are placed upon the Presidency".

He went on: "In the event that the sport decides that I am a part of its future, then those are the adjustments that I will address at the right time, but at the moment there is a tough election to be won."

If elected, Coe would become the first British IAAF President since Lord Burghley, the 1928 Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion, who held the position from 1946 to 1976.

The election is scheduled for the eve of next year's World Championships during the IAAF Congress in Beijing on August 18 to 20.

All 213 National Federations will have a vote.

To read the full manifesto click here