Ward said earlier this week that if he was not presented with a "signable contract" he would not be appearing at the band's forthcoming summer dates. The band then took to their official Facebook page, saying: "We were saddened to hear yesterday via Facebook that Bill declined publicly to participate in our current Black Sabbath plans. We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open."
Sharon Osbourne, wife of singer Ozzy and manager of Ozzy’s solo career for 30 years, posted a message on Twitter afterwards after receiving messages from disgruntled Sabbath fans accusing her of sacking Ward. She said: "I am not in any position to hire or fire anyone in Black Sabbath. I don’t manage the band, I manage my husband."
Black Sabbath are currently recording an album of new material, expected later this year. The band were forced to move recording sessions from Los Angeles to the U.K. after guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer.
There is already a Facebook page - 1,000,000 Black Sabbath Fans Say Yes To Bill Ward – to support the notion that Ward must remain in any Black Sabbath reunion.