NFL club owners have rejected the latest contract proposal made by the union and their chief negotiator said today the two sides are "farther apart than ever before."

Jack Donlan, executive director of NFL Management Council, was responding to a union proposal made earlier in the week in the two-season long dispute.Donlan called for a face-to-face meeting with the executive committee of the Players Association.

"Written proposals are exacerbating the negotiating process," Donlan said. "It would be more constructive if the full executive committees of both sides sit down face-to-face. I believe both of us owe that to our constituents."

The union proposal was highlighted by a free agent plan similar to those in the NBA and major league baseball. An unsigned veteran with six or more years of NFL service would become an unrestricted free agent. The number of years required for unrestricted free agency would be reduced in the subsequent years of the contract, down to three years by Feb. 1, 1992.

Last month, the owners' negotiators gave the union a proposal that would allow clubs to protect a certain number of players and allow the rest to become unrestricted free agents. The proposal also called for a wage scale, to last 10 years.

Union officials were not available for comment on management's rejection of their offer.