The situation between Black Sabbath and drummer Bill Ward has been extremely intense. However, fans hoping that Ward will receive the “signable contract” he’s been asking for (including those apart of the large Facebook campaign) might have reason to remain optimistic about Sabbath’s future.

In a statement posted on his website earlier today, the drummer claimed he remains hopeful for a “positive outcome” in the current dispute with Sabbath. Here is Ward’s most recent statement in its entirety:

“Dear Sabbath Fans,

I wanted to let you know where things are at, from my point of view, as of today, February 17, 2012.

As my statement of February 2, 2012 indicated, I have not declined to participate in the Sabbath album and tour. At the earliest opportunity, I am prepared to go to the U.K. and record, and later tour with the band. Last week, we sent further communication to the attorney handling the negotiations to try to reach an agreement. At this time we are waiting to hear back. I remain hopeful for a “signable” contract and a positive outcome.

I want to thank everyone who has voiced and posted their opinions, thoughts, support and love through all media, including the newly constructed sites. I applaud your worldwide reaction in support of the original band. And speaking for myself, your intent and truth will always be respected. While believing in your freedom for expression, keep in mind that Tony, Ozzy and Geezer are still my lifetime friends, and I cannot support comments with an objectifying or derogatory theme toward them or their various representatives.

Many thanks to all of you. You are truly phenomenal. Stay safe, stay strong.

–Bill Ward”

This certainly gives us hope that Sabbath and Ward could potentially work something out so that fans can receive a true reunion this year. It wouldn’t be the first time Ward came back into the fold after originally opting not to take part in Sabbath’s plans over contract disputes (most notably with Ozzfest 2004). However, whether Sabbath will renegotiate with Ward or opt to move forward with a new drummer is still unknown. Looks like the ball is back in Tony, Ozzy and Geezer’s court.