Ozzy, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler responded to Ward’s February 2 statement by saying, "We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open."
The absence of Ward effectively prevents this from being the full-blown regrouping of the original SABBATH lineup that was first envisioned last year.
A number of SABBATH fans have rallied around Ward and have launched a new Facebook page dubbed "1,000,000 Black Sabbath Fans Say Yes To Bill Ward".
Ward said in his statement that he could not participate in the reunion, which was announced last November, unless presented with what he described as a "fair agreement" and a "signable contract" that financially reflected his contributions to SABBATH’s history and his standing as a founding member of the band.
The recording sessions for what was meant to be the original band’s first new album in 33 years were recently moved to London so that Iommi, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, could be close to his doctors.
SABBATH is scheduled to release its new album later this year and is confirmed to play the U.K.’s Download festival in June. All other tour plans, however, are up in the air pending Iommi’s ability to overcome his illness.